The Relationship of Migraines/Headaches and Concussion History to Post-Concussion Neurocognitive Performance in Collegiate Athletes

Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology -


Kontos, A., T. Covassin, R. J. Elbin, E. Larson and D. Stearne.



Objective: To determine the relationship between previous treatment for migraines/headaches and history of concussion on post-concussion computerized neurocognitive performance and symptoms in collegiate athletes. Method: A prospective repeated measures design was used to compare baseline and 2- and 5-day post-concussion neurocognitive performance and symptoms. The independent variables were history of treatment for migraines/headaches and history of two of more concussions, and time (baseline, 2-, and 5-day post-concussion). The dependent variables were the Immediate Post-concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test (ImPACT) cognitive composite scores (i.e., verbal memory, visual memory, motor processing speed, reaction time) and total concussion symptoms. A total of 57 subjects who incurred a concussion were enrolled in the study from a population of collegiate athletes who had completed a baseline ImPACT test at five institutions in the Northeast. Concussed athletes were then administered follow-up ImPACT tests at 2- and 5-days post-injury. Results: Approximately 37% (n¼ 21) of the subjects had a history of two or more previously diagnosed/treated concussions. Nearly 25% (n ¼ 14) of the subjects in the study had been treated previously for migraines/headaches. The results of a repeated measures ANOVA supported within subjects main effects for migraine/headache and concussion history on processing speed. The results of a repeated measures ANOVAs supported a within subjects main effect for migraine/headache on reaction time. Conclusion: The results of the current study suggest that previous treatment for migraines/headaches may influence the effects of concussion on subsequent neurocognitive performance, and should be considered when interpreting computerized neurocognitive test results.

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