Self-reported history of seizure and baseline neurocognitive test performance in student-athletes: An initial investigation

Phys Sportsmed -


Zalneraitis, B. H., Yengo-Kahn, A. M., Pawlukiewicz, A. J. and Solomon, G. S..



OBJECTIVES: Baseline neurocognitive assessment data can be critical in return to play (RTP) decision-making following a sport-related concussion (SRC). The literature indicates that many modifying factors of SRC have been studied empirically; however, there has been little investigation into the effect of a self-reported history of seizure(s) on baseline neurocognitive test data. The objective of this investigation was to determine whether a self-reported history of seizure(s) is associated with differences in baseline Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) performance. METHODS: A retrospective analysis of 18,245 adolescent and young adult athletes’ ImPACT scores was performed. After application of inclusion and exclusion criteria, 7,391 participants were dichotomized into groups based on the presence or absence of a self-reported history of seizure. Participants reporting a history of seizure (n = 60) were matched on multiple variables in a 1:3 ratio with controls (n = 180) without a history of self-reported seizure. Baseline ImPACT composite scores were then compared between groups using either a 2-tailed t-test or a Mann-Whitney U-Test. RESULTS: A significant between-group difference was observed in ImPACT visual motor speed composite scores (35.28 vs. 37.64, p = 0.029, Hedge’s g = 0.327), with the group self-reporting a history of seizure performing at inferior average scores. No significant between-group differences were detected in verbal memory, visual memory, reaction time, impulse control, or total symptom scores. CONCLUSION: Athletes with a history of self-reported seizure scored significantly lower on ImPACT visual motor speed compared to matched controls. As a solitary finding with a small effect size, the clinical significance of this difference is unclear. Apart from the decrease in visual-motor speed, this preliminary analysis suggests that athletes with a history of seizure might not have significantly different neurocognitive baseline test scores when compared with matched controls. Further empirical investigation is warranted to determine if a history of seizure is a modifying factor for SRC. KEYWORDS: Sport-related concussion; immediate post-concussion assessment and cognitive test; modifying factors; neuropsychological test; seizure PMID: 28838286 DOI: 10.1080/00913847.2017.1372035

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