OBJECTIVE: Acute recovery from concussion (mild traumatic brain injury) is assessed in samples of NFL and high school athletes evaluated within days of injury.
METHODS: All athletes were evaluated within days of injury using a computer-based neuropsychological test and symptom inventory protocol. Test performance was compared to preinjury baseline levels of a similar but not identical group of athletes who had undergone preseason testing. Statistical analyses were completed using Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA).
RESULTS: NFL athletes demonstrated a rapid neuropsychological recovery. As a group, NFL athletes returned to baseline performance in a week with the majority of athletes having normal performance two days after injury. High school athletes demonstrated a slower recovery than NFL athletes.
CONCLUSION: Computer-based neuropsychological testing was used within the overall medical evaluation and care of NFL athletes. As found in a prior study using more traditional neuropsychological testing, NFL players did not demonstrate decrements in neuropsychological performance beyond one week of injury. High school players demonstrated more prolonged neuropsychological effects of concussion.