The aim of this study was to compare demographic characteristics, medical care, and outcomes among patients with assault-related concussion (ARC) versus sports and recreation–related concussion (SRC).
We conducted a retrospective chart review of 124 patients (62 ARC, 62 SRC) aged 8 to 17 years presenting to the care network of a large tertiary care pediatric hospital between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2014 with a concussion diagnosis at time of presentation. We abstracted patient demographics, initial medical care visit characteristics, and outcome data, and compared proportions using χ2 testing and Fisher exact test and medians using Wilcoxon rank sum test.
Patients with ARC were more likely to be Black, publicly insured, and present first for care to the emergency department. Significantly fewer patients with ARC received visio-vestibular testing at initial visit (27% vs 74%, P < 0.001). During recovery, the total number of reported physical, cognitive, emotional, and sleep symptoms did not differ between groups; however, more than twice as many patients with ARC reported decline in grades postinjury compared with patients with SRC (47% vs 20%, P = 0.012). There were trends toward prolonged symptom recovery and time to physician clearance for full return to activities among patients with ARC compared with SRC.
This study highlights potential disparities in the initial evaluation and outcomes of pediatric concussion patients based on mechanism of injury. Patients with ARC were less likely to receive a concussion-specific diagnostic evaluation and reported a greater impact on educational outcomes, suggesting differences in concussion diagnosis and management among assault-injured patients. Further examination in larger populations with prospective studies is needed to address potential inequities in concussion care and outcomes among patients with ARC.