Symptom profile following cumulative mild traumatic brain injury in early adolescent rugby union players in South Africa

South African Journal of Child Health -


Okusanya, D. O., & Basson, W. J. .



Background. The symptom profiles of young adolescent rugby and non-contact sports were investigated over one sport season. Objectives. To compare the concussion symptom profiles of rugby players with those of non-contact sport players over a sport season. Methods. In a non-equivalent quasi-experimental design, a group of rugby players (n=99) were compared with a demographically equivalent group of non-contact sport participants (n=74). The computerised Immediate Post-concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (IMPACT) symptom scale was employed to evaluate and compare pre-season and post-season assessment of both groups. Results. Independent comparative analyses revealed that the damaging effects owing to exposure to concussive and sub-concussive incidents appear to be more pronounced in the rugby group in terms of symptomatic presentation compared with the controls. Conclusion. The damaging effects are compounded during a rugby season as a result of sub-concussive and concussive events.

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