Objective: The relationship between athlete reports of symptoms, neurophysiological activation, and neuropsychological functioning is investigated in a sample of high school athletes.
Methods: All athletes were evaluated using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a computer-based battery of neurocognitive tests, and a subjective symptom scale. Athletes were evaluated within approximately 1 week of injury and again after clinical recovery using all assessment modalities.
Results: This study found that abnormal fMRI results during the first week of recovery predicted clinical recovery. As a group, athletes who demonstrated hyperactivation on fMRI scans at the time of their first fMRI scan demonstrated a more prolonged clinical recovery than athletes who did not demonstrate hyperactivation at the time of their first fMRI scan.
Conclusion: These results demonstrate the relationship between neurophysiological, neuropsychological, and subjective symptom data in a relatively large sample composed primarily of concussed high school athletes. fMRI represents an important evolving technology for the understanding of brain recovery after concussion and may help shape return-to-play guidelines in the future.