Objective: Proper concussion assessment is imperative for properly caring for athletes who sustain traumatic brain injuries. Decreased sleep quality and sleep quantity affect cognition and may threaten the validity of clinical measures often used as a part of the concussion assessment. The purpose of this study was to determine if sleep quality or sleep quantity affects performance on clinical measures of concussion.
Design: Prospective cohort design.
Setting: Clinical research center.
Participants: One hundred fifty-five college student-athletes (57 females, 98 males; age = 18.8 ± 0.8 years; mass = 78.4 ± 19.6 kg; height = 177.4 ± 12.3 cm).
Interventions: We performed preseason baseline testing by using a well-accepted and multifaceted protocol inclusive of neurocognition, balance performance, and symptom reporting. Information related to sleep quality and sleep quantity was also collected during preseason baseline testing.
Main outcome measures: The CNS Vital Signs battery (computerized neurocognitive test), Sensory Organization Test (computerized dynamic posturography), and a Graded Symptom Checklist (symptom evaluation) were used.
Results: Subjects with a low sleep quantity the night before baseline reported both a greater number of symptoms and higher total symptom severity score. No clinically significant effects for sleep quality were observed.
Conclusions: Sleep-deprived athletes reporting for baseline testing should be rescheduled for testing after a normal night's sleep.