Reports of Concussion History and Newly Diagnosed Concussions Are Higher Among Students With Self-Reported Learning Disabilities and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Athletic Training and Sports Health Care -


Valovich McLeod, T. C., L. I. Shepherd, R. C. Bay and R. M. Williams.



PURPOSE: To investigate the relationship between a self-reported learning disability or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), self-reported concussion history, and future diagnosed concussions. METHODS: Interscholastic athletes (N = 8,814) participated. Relevant participant demographic information was collected during baseline testing through the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test (ImPACT Applications, Inc., San Diego, CA). Independent variables included a self-reported learning disability and ADHD. Dependent variables included the self-reported concussion history and subsequent diagnosed concussions. Relationships were evaluated using relative risk ratios (P < .05). RESULTS: A total of 158 participants (1.8%) indicated having a learning disability, 375 (4.3%) noted ADHD, and 1,583 (18.0%) self-reported a concussion history. During this study, 632 concussions were diagnosed. Learning disabilities and ADHD both were associated with an increased concussion history (P < .001) and diagnosed concussions (P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that athletes with a self-reported learning disability and/or ADHD may be at increased risk for concussions. Athletic trainers should consider these conditions as risk factors and attempt to ensure that these and other comorbid factors are identified.

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