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Early Indicators of Enduring Symptoms in High School Athletes With Multiple Previous Concussions

Schatz, Philip PhD*‡; Moser, Rosemarie Scolaro PhD‡§; Covassin, Tracey PhD, ATC¶; Karpf, Robin MD‖

doi: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31820e382e
Research-Human-Clinical Studies: Editor's Choice
CNS University of Neurosurgery
Press Release

BACKGROUND: Despite recent findings of cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral symptomatology in retired professional athletes with a history of multiple concussions, there is little systematic research examining these symptoms in high school athletes with a history of concussion.

OBJECTIVE: To identify cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms at baseline in nonconcussed high school athletes based on concussion history.

METHODS: A multicenter sample of 616 high school athletes who completed baseline evaluations were assigned to groups based on history of concussion (none, 1, 2, or more previous concussions). The Post-Concussion Symptom Scale was administered as part of a computerized neuropsychological test battery during athletes' preseason baseline evaluations. Cross-sectional analyses were used to examine symptoms reported at the time of baseline neuropsychological testing.

RESULTS: High school athletes with a history of 2 or more concussions showed significantly higher ratings of concussion-related symptoms (cognitive, physical, sleep difficulties) than athletes with a history of one or no previous concussions.

CONCLUSION: It appears that youth athletes who sustain multiple concussions experience a variety of subtle effects, which may be possible precursors of the future onset of concussion-related difficulties.

*Department of Psychology, Saint Joseph's University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; ‡International Brain Research Foundation, Edison, New Jersey; §RSM Psychology Center, LLC, Sports Concussion Center of New Jersey, Lawrenceville, New Jersey; ¶Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan; ‖The Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, New Jersey

Received, June 14, 2010.

Accepted, October 21, 2010.

Correspondence: Philip Schatz, PhD, Department of Psychology, Saint Joseph's University, 222 Post Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19131. E-mail:

Copyright © by the Congress of Neurological Surgeons