Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as a risk factor for concussions in NCAA division-I athletes

Brain Inj. 2014;28(4):472-4. doi: 10.3109/02699052.2014.887145. Epub 2014 Feb 24.


Objective: Sports-related concussions are associated with both acute and long-term consequences. Past work has identified novel risk factors and modifiers for concussions, including mood and neuropsychiatric disorders. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a common neuropsychiatric disorder that may also contribute to concussion risk, although no study has examined this possibility.

Methods: One hundred and thirty-nine NCAA Division-I athletes at Kent State University (KSU) self-reported a history of prior concussion and diagnostic history of ADHD as part of a larger concussion management programme at KSU.

Results: ADHD was prevalent (10.1%) and 18.0% of the sample reported a prior history of at least one concussion injury. 50.4% of athletes with ADHD reported a history of at least one prior concussion vs 14.4% of athletes without ADHD, which represented a significant difference (p < 0.01). Analyses showed that athletes with ADHD were more likely to report a past history of concussions than those without ADHD (F (1,133) = 4.31, p = 0.04).

Conclusion: ADHD is prevalent in NCAA Division-I athletes and associated with history of past concussions. If replicated, these findings could have important implications in the prevention and management of concussions in athletes with ADHD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletes / statistics & numerical data*
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / etiology
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / complications
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / epidemiology*
  • Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity / physiopathology
  • Brain Concussion / epidemiology*
  • Brain Concussion / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills Disorders / complications
  • Motor Skills Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Ohio / epidemiology
  • Postural Balance
  • Prevalence
  • Reaction Time
  • Risk Factors
  • Self Report
  • Sports*