Sports-Related Concussion Recovery in Collegiate Athletes

Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology -


Walker, K., A. Torstrick, R. Wellington and L. Zhao.


Objective: The authors prospectively charted the course of neurocognitive and post-concussive symptom recovery following a sports-related concussion in collegiate athletes. Method: Data analyzed in this study were collected as part of a collaboration between our research lab and select athletic teams at a large East Coast university. The sample consisted of 48 concussed athletes (67% female; mean age = 19.3). Participants were administered Version 2.0 of the computer-based ImPACT to acquire a single baseline measure of functioning. This was done for all participants during the fall pre-season. If the participant received a concussion during play, he or she would complete the ImPACT at 1 and 7 days post-injury. Results: Repeated-measure ANOVA found significant variation across baseline, post-injury, and follow-up measures of Verbal Memory (F = 7.6, p < .01), Visual Memory (F = 7.6, p < .01), Processing Speed (F = 15.4, p < .001), Reaction Time (F = 8.86, p < .01), and sum PCS symptoms (F = 18.7, p < .001). We observed a prevalence of protracted neurocognitive performance deficits and PCS at 7 days follow-up similar to that of those published for younger athletes at 14 days follow-up (McClincy et al., 2006). Overall, performances on all four neurocognitive functioning composites and the total PCS returned to baseline levels at 7 days post-injury (p > .05). At 7 days follow-up, we observed rates of significant RCI improvement (relative to baseline) far exceeding that found in a healthy sample across all four composites (Iverson et al., 2003). Conclusion: Our sample of college athletes appeared to show a faster recovery from concussion than that found in multiple-site studies with predominately ≤17 athletes. Rates of improvement in this sample question the replicability of previous studies (Iverson et al., 2003).

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