Short-term and long-term outcome of athletic closed head injuries

Clin Sports Med. 2003 Jul;22(3):577-92. doi: 10.1016/s0278-5919(02)00103-5.


The continued development of the sport environment as a laboratory for clinical investigation of mild head injury has greatly advanced the use of neuropsychological assessment in evaluating brain-injured athletes, and tracking their symptoms and recovery in an objective manner. The use of neurocognitive baseline measures has become critical in determining whether a brain-injured athlete has recovered function sufficiently to return to play. The rapid growth of computerized and web-based neurocognitive assessment measures provides an efficient, valid technology to put such testing within the reach of most institutions and organizations that field sport teams. Moreover, the knowledge of the recovery curve following mild head injury in the sport environment can be generalized to the management of MTBI in general clinical environments where baseline measures are unlikely. What we know today is that sideline assessments of severity are not predictive of which athletes will show the most typical 5- to 10-day recovery period and which will report persistent PCS complaints and exhibit impaired neurocognitive performance for an extended time. The research on mechanisms of brain injury in MTBI suggests that unpredictable, diffuse white-matter damage may control much of the variability in functional impairments and recovery duration.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Amnesia / epidemiology
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Athletic Injuries / classification*
  • Athletic Injuries / diagnosis
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology
  • Brain Concussion / epidemiology
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Head Injuries, Closed / classification*
  • Head Injuries, Closed / diagnosis
  • Head Injuries, Closed / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome and Process Assessment, Health Care / methods*
  • Recovery of Function
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Sports Medicine / methods
  • Unconsciousness / epidemiology


  • Apolipoproteins E