Duration of cognitive impairment after sports concussion

Neurosurgery. 2004 May;54(5):1073-78; discussion 1078-80. doi: 10.1227/01.neu.0000118820.33396.6a.


Objective: We sought to determine the duration of cognitive impairment after sports concussion.

Methods: We conducted a study with a prospective design in which 729 athletes underwent preseason baseline testing by being administered a computerized neuropsychological test battery, followed by retesting at regular intervals after they sustained sports-related concussions. A control group consisting of nonconcussed athletes drawn from the same baseline population underwent testing at parallel intervals.

Results: Cognitive impairment in this primarily American Academy of Neurology Grade II sample of boxing concussions was apparent on the day of injury and at 1 to 2 days postinjury. Recovery of cognitive performance occurred during the 3- to 7-day interval. Comparison with control subjects showed that absent or attenuated practice effects, in addition to frank deterioration from baseline, were indications of recent concussion.

Conclusion: The present findings of recovery during the 3- to 7-day interval postinjury are consistent with the American Academy of Neurology Grade II return-to-play practice parameters suggesting a 1-week time-out from participation in contact sports.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Boxing / injuries*
  • Brain Concussion / complications*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function
  • Time Factors
  • Trauma Severity Indices