Understanding racial differences in computerized neurocognitive test performance and symptom-reporting to deliver culturally competent patient-centered care for sport-related concussion

Wallace, J., Beidler, E., Covassin, T., Hibbler, T., & Schatz, P..



OBJECTIVE: This study examined neurocognitive performance and symptoms between concussed Black and White collegiate athletes at baseline, post-injury, and change from baseline to post-injury. METHOD: The Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test (ImPACT) was used to measure neurocognitive performance and four concussion symptom clusters for 235 concussed collegiate athletes. Between-groups differences were documented at baseline and post-injury, along with change in scores for sex/race, and sport/race groups, using ANOVAs. Baseline scores, and days-to-post-test were covariates in post-injury comparisons. Symptom endorsement by race was evaluated using chi-square analyses. RESULTS: At baseline, group comparisons by race and sex showed that Black male/female athletes scored lower on reaction time (RT; p = .008), White females scored higher on verbal memory (VerbMem; p = .001), Black females scored lower on visual motor processing speed (VMS; p = .001), and Black football athletes scored slower/poorer on RT (p = .001) and VMS (p = .006). Post-injury, Black males scored lower on visual memory (VisMem; p = .005) and VMS (p = .002), and Black football athletes scored slower on VMS (p = .005), whereas White non-football athletes scored higher on VerbMem (p = .002) and reported fewer symptoms. Significant time-by-sport/race interactions were found for VerbMem (p < .001), VisMem (p < .001) and reported symptoms. With respect to post-injury symptom scores/endorsement, Black athletes scored significantly higher for physical (p = .01) and sleep (p = .01) symptoms. CONCLUSION: These findings drive the conversation of how subjective measures of symptoms, and objective clinical concussion measures, may relate to the concussion recovery process and providing a culturally competent clinical management approach for diverse patients.

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