Academic Dysfunction After a Concussion Among US High School and College Students

Am J Public Health. 2016 Jul;106(7):1247-53. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2016.303154. Epub 2016 May 19.


Objectives: To determine whether concussed students experience greater academic dysfunction than students who sustain other injuries.

Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study from September 2013 through January 2015 involving high school and college students who visited 3 emergency departments in the Rochester, New York, area. Using telephone surveys, we compared self-reported academic dysfunction between 70 students with concussions and a comparison group of 108 students with extremity injuries at 1 week and 1 month after injury.

Results: At 1 week after injury, academic dysfunction scores were approximately 16 points higher (b = 16.20; 95% confidence interval = 6.39, 26.00) on a 174-point scale in the concussed group than in the extremity injury group. Although there were no differences overall at 1-month after injury, female students in the concussion group and those with a history of 2 or more prior concussions were more likely to report academic dysfunction.

Conclusions: Our results showed academic dysfunction among concussed students, especially female students and those with multiple prior concussions, 1 week after their injury. Such effects appeared to largely resolve after 1 month. Our findings support the need for academic adjustments for concussed students.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / complications*
  • Brain Concussion / complications*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • New York
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Distribution
  • Students / psychology*
  • Time Factors