The Importance of Screening for Post-Concussion Motor Symptoms

Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology -


Schatz, P. and A. Smith.



Objective: To evaluate whether the presence of post-concussion motor symptoms affect recovery following sports-related concussion. Methods: Two-hundred and one high school and collegiate athletes who sustained a concussion and endorsed motor symptoms, balance problems, or dizziness, were compared to 197 high school and collegiate athletes who sustained a concussion and did not endorse motor symptoms. Athletes were tested on ImPACT at both baseline and post-concussion. Results: Groups showed no significant differences in baseline test scores. Multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) revealed multivariate effects of symptom group and time, with group × time interactions noted. Athletes endorsing motor symptoms within 1 week post-concussion scored significantly worse on verbal memory, visual memory, and reaction time, and also endorsed more non-motor symptoms, when compared with athletes not endorsing motor symptoms post-concussion. These effects were not present 7– 10 days post-injury. A smaller sub-group of athletes presented with motor symptoms 7 –10 days post-concussion, and MANOVA revealed that these athletes return to baseline cognitive performance, but continue to endorse significantly more non-motor symptoms than athletes not presenting with motor symptoms 7 – 10 days post-concussion. Conclusions: Athletes presenting with balance problems or dizziness post-concussion score significantly worse than athletes not presenting with motor symptoms, when compared with baseline. Athletes continuing to endorse motor symptoms over 1 week post-concussion should be carefully evaluated with balance testing and also be screened for non-motor symptoms.

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