Effects of exercise on symptoms, cognitive and motor performance tasks using the sport concussion assessment tool (SCAT2) in healthy young adults and children

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Abstract

Objective

To document the effect of high intensity exercise on the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 2 (SCAT2) scores in healthy young adults and children.

Design

Repeated measures design.

Setting

McGill University Athletics Department (adults) and Elementary School in the Montreal area (children).

Participants

Seventy six healthy young adults (45 women and 31 men, mean age 22.5±1.9 years) and 13 children (6 girls and 7 boys, mean age 10.7±0.4 years) participated in this study.

Intervention

Participants performed the Léger Test, a maximal multistage 20 m shuttle run test, to their perceived volitional exhaustion.

Main Outcome Measurements

The SCAT2 was used to evaluate participants at rest, 2 min and 25 min post-exercise.

Results

In adults, total SCAT2 scores were significantly decreased immediately after high intensity exercise (p<0.001) and returned to baseline after the allocated rest period (p=0.350). Individual components of the SCAT2 also reflected this for symptom severity (p<0.001), and total balance score (p<0.001). High intensity exercise had no effect on delayed recall memory (p=0.242). Children in our small sample revealed a tendency for a similar impact of high intensity exercise on SCAT2 scores although statistical significance was not reached.

Conclusions

High intensity exercise, such as that achieved during a sporting event, has an impact on aspects of functioning assessed by the SCAT2.

Clinical Relevance

In order to eliminate the effects of exercise when testing individuals on the field immediately post-injury, professionals should allow for proper rest before using the SCAT2.

Acknowledgements

Participants and their families, Gardenview Elementary School for allowing testing within their institutions, Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy McGill University.

Competing interests

None.

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