The relation between acute symptom presentation and cognitive functioning in concussed amateur athletes

Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology -


Schnakenberg-Ott, S., V. Fazio, J. Pardini, C. Stovall, M. Lovell and M. Collins.



Objective: The acute presence of symptoms following a concussive event may be related to decreased neurocognitive performance. The purpose of the present study was to examine the relation between individual symptoms and performance on specific measures of cognitive functioning in a sample of concussed athletes. Method: Participants were 99 amateur athletes with a mean age of 15.86 (S.D. = 1.26) who had completed 9.52 years of education (S.D. = 1.32). All athletes had received a concussion through sport participation, and were assessed using the 22 item Post-Concussion Symptom Scale (PCSS) and the Immediate Post-concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing battery (ImPACT) within 14 days of injury. Results: Of four composite scores that ImPACT calculates, verbal memory had a significant correlation with symptoms in all four symptom factors: sleep, neurocognitive, emotional, and physical. Specifically, Abstracts / Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology 21 (2006) 509–606 541 verbal memory was highly correlated with the symptom of hyposomnia (r = −0.26, p = 0.01), irritability (r = −0.23, p = 0.02), memory problems (r = −0.39, p = 0.00), fogginess (r = −0.25, p = 0.01), and numerous physical symptoms including headache and nausea. Conclusions: This study suggests that specific symptoms following a concussion are related to deficits in verbal memory. While some symptoms are highly related to deficits in neurocognitive domains, the individualized presentation of concussion warrants careful inquiry regarding all symptoms and assessment of cognitive functioning using standardized means.

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