Objectives: To assess whether postconcussive symptoms (PCS) can be used to discriminate injury severity among children with mild traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Participants: One hundred eighty-six children with mild TBI, divided into high and low injury severity depending on whether the injury was associated with a loss of consciousness (LOC), and a comparison group of 99 children with orthopedic injuries (OI), all aged 8 to 15 years at the time of injury.
Main Measures: Parent-rated frequency and severity of PCS at initial assessment within 2 weeks postinjury and again at 3 and 12 months postinjury.
Results: Ratings of PCS obtained at the initial and 3-month assessments differentiated children with mild TBI from OI, although only ratings at the initial assessment discriminated among all 3 groups. Somatic PCS accounted for most of the discriminatory power.
Conclusions: Overall, the accuracy of group classification was relatively modest, with a large proportion of misclassifications of children in the mild-TBI groups. Although children with mild TBI have more PCS than children with OI, PCS do not permit sufficiently accurate discrimination of mild TBI and injury severity to warrant diagnostic decisions at this time.