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.