The results of this research review provide the most current information in regards to pediatric concussion and neurological and cognitive consequences. These results support the working hypothesis that the cognitive consequences of pediatric sports-related concussions do not outweigh the benefits associated with childhood sports participation.
In a cohort study (total n=200), investigators looked at return to cognitive baseline after concussion in younger versus older athletes. Participants were divided into two groups, a 13-16 year old group (n=100), and 18-22 year old group (n = 100). Each participant completed baseline and post concussion neurocognitive testing using the immediate Post-Concussion assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) test battery. Results showed that athletes 13-16 years old take longer to return to neurocognitive and symptom baselines than athletes 18-22 years old (22).
In a prospective design study, 18 children with mTBI and 18 matched healthy controls (8-16 years of age) were used to compare sensitivity to simple and complex visual stimuli and to determine the evolution of visuo-perceptual performance over time. At 1, 4 and 12 weeks sensitivity to static and dynamic forms of simple (first order), complex (second order), orientation and direction identification thresholds, and radial optic flow stimuli were assessed. The results of this study demonstrate that all complex stimuli were significantly affected for the mTBI children, including at the 12 week interval. There was also no difference between groups across all testing conditions for simple, first order information (2).
An observational study from 2008 looked at high school athletes and recovery patterns after concussion. Out of 419 athletes who underwent neuropsychological baseline testing (male and female with average age of 15.69), 14 sustained concussions during sport season and were reassessed 2.5, 6 and 10 days post-injury. 14 matched uninjured participants were also reassessed at the end of the school year. Recovery patterns indicate that reaction time and processing speed returned to normal by approx. 6 days post injury, whereas, memory deficits remained from 7-10 days post injury (19).
Another observational study examined differences in neurocognitive performance between symptomatic concussed athletes (n=78), asymptomatic concussed athletes (n=44), and a non-concussed control group of athletes (n=70). All athletes underwent baseline testing and reassessment using ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing). Results demonstrate that the asymptomatic concussed group still performed worse than control group in domains measured by ImPACT. Findings of this study show an imperfect relationship between symptom reporting and neurocognitive recovery (4).
A recent retrospective cohort study (2012) of high school and collegiate athletes (n=49, ages 14-23 years old) evaluated the efficacy of cognitive and physical...