Primary objective: To examine the possibility that athletes with multiple concussions show cumulative effects of injury.
Methods and procedures: Amateur athletes with a history of three or more concussions were carefully matched (gender, age, education and sport) with athletes with no prior concussions. All completed a computerized neuropsychological test battery at preseason (ImPACT) and then within 5 days of sustaining a concussion (mean = 1.7 days).
Main outcomes and results: There were differences between groups in symptom reporting and memory performance. At baseline (i.e. preseason), athletes with multiple concussions reported more symptoms than athletes with no history of concussion. At approximately 2 days post-injury, athletes with multiple concussions scored significantly lower on memory testing than athletes with a single concussion. Athletes with multiple concussions were 7.7 times more likely to demonstrate a major drop in memory perfomance than athletes with no previous concussions.
Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence to suggest that athletes with multiple concussions might have cumulative effects.