Measuring brain electrical activity to track recovery from sport-related concussion

Brain Inj. 2012;26(1):58-66. doi: 10.3109/02699052.2011.608216. Epub 2011 Nov 22.


Primary objective: To follow recovery from concussion in a sample of athletes using an electroencephalographic (EEG) index of quantitative brain activity developed previously on an independent Emergency Department (ED) sample of head-injured subjects with traumatic brain injury.

Methods and procedures: EEG recordings from five frontal electrode sites were obtained on 59 injured athletes and 31 controls at the time of injury and at 8 and 45 days afterward. All subjects also completed standardized clinical assessment of post-concussion symptoms, postural stability and cognitive functioning at injury and 8 and 45 days post-injury.

Results: Abnormalities in clinical assessment measures were observed in injured subjects only at time of injury. Statistical analysis of brain electrical activity measures with the ED-based algorithm revealed significant differences between injured athletes vs controls at the time of injury and at day 8. Measures from the two groups did not differ on day 45.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated that an algorithm of brain electrical activity developed on an independent sample of ED subjects with head injury is sensitive to the effects of sport-related concussion. Using this algorithm, abnormal features of brain electrical activity were detected in athletes with concussion at the time of injury and persisted beyond the point of recovery on clinical measures.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Algorithms
  • Athletes
  • Athletic Injuries / complications
  • Athletic Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Brain Concussion / complications
  • Brain Concussion / physiopathology*
  • Cognition
  • Electroencephalography / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome / etiology
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult