This study aimed to identify clinical predictors of postconcussion subsequent musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries.
We recruited 66 National Collegiate Athletic Association intercollegiate student-athletes with a diagnosed concussion as well as 36 National Collegiate Athletic Association student-athletes without a concussion. All participants completed a multifaceted concussion baseline consisting of 1) 22-item 0–6 self-reported symptom checklist with outcomes including both the number of symptoms endorsed (0–22) and 2) total symptom score (0–132), 3) Standard Assessment of Concussion, 4) Balance Error Scoring System, 5) Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing, 6) clinical reaction time, and 7) the King-Devick as well as demographic and injury characteristics. The concussion participants completed the same examination acutely postconcussion, and binary logistic regression was used to identify predictors of subsequent MSK from the change scores (acute minus baseline). From the 66 concussed student-athletes, a subset 36, matched with the healthy athletes, compared the risk of subsequent MSK in the year before and year after their concussion.
The concussion participants were 1.78 times (95% confidence interval, 1.12–2.84; P = 0.015) more likely to suffer a lower extremity MSK in the year after their concussion than the control participants. The participant demographics and injury characteristics (P = 0.318) and concussion clinical outcomes (P = 0.461) did not predict subsequent MSK.
The concussion participants were 1.78 times more likely to sustain a subsequent MSK; however, no demographic, injury characteristic, or concussion assessments predicted the MSK. Thus, clinicians are not able to utilize common neurological measures or participant demographics to identify those at risk for subsequent lower extremity MSK. Injury prevention strategies should be considered for collegiate student-athletes upon premature return to participation after a concussion to reduce the subsequent MSK.