Symptoms Among Concussed Athletes Examined For Prolonged Recovery By A Neuropsychologist

Journal of Athletic Training.. 2014 Jun;


Snook, E. M., V. C. Nittoli and A. W. Shunk.



Context: Sport-related concussions are receiving extensive media attention with questions being raised about factors that are associated with prolonged recovery (ie, >14 days). A common reason for athletes to seek neuropsychological evaluation after a concussion is the continuation of symptoms. Objective: To describe post-concussive symptoms among athletes seeking neuropsychological evaluation due to extended concussion recovery. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: A sports performance center in the Midwestern United States. Patients or Other Participants: The sample included 50 successive patients (15.9 ± 1.9 years of age) that completed the ImPACT Symptom Scale as part of a comprehensive assessment for prolonged recovery concussion (4.0±4.1 months since date of concussion) between January 2005 and June 2013. Intervention(s): Athletes completed a clinical interview and computerized testing that included the 22-item ImPACT Symptom Scale. Main Outcome Measure(s): The percentage of athletes experiencing post-concussive symptoms, gender differences in total symptom score and total number of symptoms reported, and the 10 most commonly reported symptoms. Results: A total of 44 of the 50 athletes (88%) reported experiencing at least one post-concussion symptom (mean symptoms 7.4 ± 5.6). There were no differences between males and females in the number of symptoms reported (P = .67) or total symptom score (P = .20). Among athletes reporting symptoms, headache (n = 30 athletes, 68.2%); dif culty concentrating, dif culty remembering, and irritability (each symptom with n = 26, 59.1%); feeling slowed down (n = 25, 56.8%), trouble falling asleep and drowsiness (each symptom with n = 22, 50.0%), light sensitivity (n = 21, 47.7%), and fatigue and mental fogginess (each symptom with n = 19, 43.2%) were the 10 most commonly reported symptoms. Conclusions: The vast majority of concussed athletes seeking neuropsychological assessment for prolonged recovery and having completed the ImPACT Symptom Scale reported experiencing one or more symptoms at the time of neuropsychological testing. Commonly reported symptoms were headache, cognitive problems, and fatigue. These results suggest that those athletes being referred for, or seeking, neuropsychological assessment may be doing so in part because of dif cult symptom management.

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