Prolonged recovery of memory functioning after mild traumatic brain injury in adolescent athletes

J Neurosurg. 2008 Mar;108(3):511-6. doi: 10.3171/JNS/2008/108/3/0511.


Object: The current body of sports-related concussion literature is hampered by a lack of research conducted in high school athletes. Accordingly, the authors sought to examine the neuropsychological deficits and recovery patterns after concussive injuries in this population.

Methods: Participants included 419 male and female athletes with a mean age of 15.69 years who underwent baseline testing of their neuropsychological functioning prior to their sports season. Fourteen participants sustained an in-season concussion and were serially reassessed at ~2.5, 6, and 10 days postinjury. Fourteen uninjured matched control participants were also reassessed at the end of the school year.

Results: Individuals who sustained in-season concussions demonstrated impairments in reaction time, processing speed, and had delayed memory functioning. Although reaction time and processing speed deficits returned to baseline levels by ~6 days postinjury, participants continued to show memory impairments up to 7 days postinjury. Memory impairments were found to resolve by Day 10, however.

Conclusions: The results of the present study suggest that high school athletes demonstrate prolonged memory dysfunction compared with college athletes, and should therefore be treated more conservatively.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Athletic Injuries / psychology*
  • Brain Concussion / psychology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / etiology*
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Recovery of Function / physiology*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors