Early indicators of enduring symptoms in high school athletes with multiple previous concussions

Neurosurgery. 2011 Jun;68(6):1562-7; discussion 1567. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31820e382e.


Background: Despite recent findings of cognitive, emotional, physical, and behavioral symptomatology in retired professional athletes with a history of multiple concussions, there is little systematic research examining these symptoms in high school athletes with a history of concussion.

Objective: To identify cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms at baseline in nonconcussed high school athletes based on concussion history.

Methods: A multicenter sample of 616 high school athletes who completed baseline evaluations were assigned to groups based on history of concussion (none, 1, 2, or more previous concussions). The Post-Concussion Symptom Scale was administered as part of a computerized neuropsychological test battery during athletes' preseason baseline evaluations. Cross-sectional analyses were used to examine symptoms reported at the time of baseline neuropsychological testing.

Results: High school athletes with a history of 2 or more concussions showed significantly higher ratings of concussion-related symptoms (cognitive, physical, sleep difficulties) than athletes with a history of one or no previous concussions.

Conclusion: It appears that youth athletes who sustain multiple concussions experience a variety of subtle effects, which may be possible precursors of the future onset of concussion-related difficulties.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletes
  • Athletic Injuries / complications*
  • Brain Concussion / complications*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Schools