Introduction: Concussion prevalence in sport is well recognized, so too is the challenge of clinical and return-to-play management for an injury with an inherent indeterminant time course of resolve. A clear, valid insight into the anticipated resolution time could assist in planning treatment intervention.
Purpose: This study implemented a supervised machine learning-based approach in modeling estimated symptom resolve time in high school athletes who incurred a concussion during sport activity.
Methods: We examined the efficacy of 10 classification algorithms using machine learning for the prediction of symptom resolution time (within 7, 14, or 28 d), with a data set representing 3 yr of concussions suffered by high school student-athletes in football (most concussion incidents) and other contact sports.
Results: The most prevalent sport-related concussion reported symptom was headache (94.9%), followed by dizziness (74.3%) and difficulty concentrating (61.1%). For all three category thresholds of predicted symptom resolution time, single-factor ANOVA revealed statistically significant performance differences across the 10 classification models for all learners at a 95% confidence interval (P = 0.000). Naïve Bayes and Random Forest with either 100 or 500 trees were the top-performing learners with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve performance ranging between 0.656 and 0.742 (0.0-1.0 scale).
Conclusions: Considering the limitations of these data specific to symptom presentation and resolve, supervised machine learning demonstrated efficacy, while warranting further exploration, in developing symptom-based prediction models for practical estimation of sport-related concussion recovery in enhancing clinical decision support.