Primary objectives: To ascertain and compare the nature of emotional response of athletes to concussion and to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.
Research design: Pre-injury, post-injury and longitudinal emotional functioning of athletes with concussion (n = 16), athletes with ACL injuries (n = 7) and uninjured athletes (n = 28) were compared in a prospective repeated-measures design.
Methods and procedures: Participants completed the short version of the Profile of Mood States (POMS). ANOVAs and trend analysis were used to examine between and within group differences across time on two sub-scales, Total Mood Disturbance and Depression.
Main outcomes and results: Athletes with ACL injury reported higher levels of depression for a longer duration than athletes with concussion. Relative to un-injured controls, athletes with concussion reported significant changes in Total Mood Disturbance and Depression post-injury, whereas athletes with ACL injuries reported significant changes in Depression scores only. Different patterns of post-injury emotional disturbance for the injured groups were observed by trend analyses.
Conclusions: Concussed athletes do not report as much emotional disturbance as athletes with ACL injuries. Differential patterns of emotional disturbance were detected between injured groups. The authors recommended that clinical protocols and educational programmes address emotional sequelae associated with sport concussion and ACL injury.