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Does Mechanism of Injury Play a Role in Recovery from Concussion?

Seiger, Ashley BS; Goldwater, Eva MS; Deibert, Ellen MD

The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation: May/June 2015 - Volume 30 - Issue 3 - p E52–E56
doi: 10.1097/HTR.0000000000000051
Original Articles

Background: High school football and soccer are 2 of the leading causes of concussion injuries. However, concussions also occur from mechanisms of injury such as motor vehicle accidents (MVAs), assault, and work-related accidents.

Purpose: Determine if recovery from concussion could be related to the mechanism of injury.

Setting: Berkshire Medical Center Concussion Clinic.

Participants: Patients aged 13 to 21 years suffering concussion from football (n = 31), soccer (n = 9), or MVAs (n = 20).

Outcome Measurements: ImPACT (Immediate Post Concussion Assessment Tool) test scores including symptom inventory; number of days sick; length of time to recovery.

Results: Most commonly reported symptom at the time of injury was headache. Patients were seen in clinic an average of 16 (football), 14 (soccer), and 21 (MVA) days postinjury. Groups differed significantly on ImPACT Visual Memory and Visual Motor Speed scores (P < .05). MVA patients had a longer median number of days sick (97 days) than football players (32 days; P < .05).

Conclusion: This study suggests that concussion from an MVA may be a more serious injury than a typical concussion sustained during sports. Data suggest that MVA patients take longer to present to clinic, have lower Visual Memory and Visual Motor Speed scores on ImPACT, and take longer to recover. Further studies are needed to better understand how the mechanism of injury of concussion may relate to prognosis.

Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts (Ms Seiger); School of Public Health & Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Ms Goldwater); and Wellspan Adult Neurology, York, Pennsylvania (Dr Deibert).

Corresponding Author: Ashley Seiger, MS, Brigham and Women's Hospital, 221 Longwood Ave, BL230, Boston, MA 02115 (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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