Objective: To evaluate the association between having a previously documented concussion and experiencing concussive signs and symptoms (S&S) following head impacts in collegiate athletes.
Methods: Two hundred and one college male football (n = 168) and female women's soccer (n = 33) athletes participated in this retrospective case-control study. Athletes completed a questionnaire and reported if they had been diagnosed with concussion and if they experienced concussive S&S following a head impact during a game or practice in the previous year.
Results: Almost 60% (89 of 152) of non-concussed athletes reported experiencing S&S following head impacts in the previous year compared to 80% (39 of 49) of concussed athletes. The Phi coefficient (r = 0.196, p = 0.005) results indicated a significant association between previous history of concussion and the occurrence of S&S following a head impact.
Conclusions: A large percentage of non-concussed athletes are experiencing concussive S&S following head impacts during games and practices. Previously concussed athletes, however, report experiencing S&S more frequently following head impacts than their non-concussed counterparts. Although this study is subject to the limitations of a retrospective research design, these findings highlight the need for more diligent surveillance from clinicians, as many concussions are being missed.