A Comparison of a Preparticipation Evaluation History Form and a Symptom-Based Concussion Survey in the Identification of Previous Head Injury in Collegiate Athletes

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Objective:The purpose of this study was to compare the incidence of prior head injury reported on preparticipation physical evaluation (PPE) history forms with a retrospective symptom-based survey.Design:A comparison of 2 retrospective survey instruments.Setting:NCAA Division I varsity athletic program.Participants:A total of 93 male and 79 female athletes participating in intercollegiate contact/collision sports.Main Outcome Measures:Athletes were administered a concussion symptom survey (CSS) with questions about symptom incidence after head injury. These responses were compared with answers given about previous concussion/head injury on the university's PPE history form. The numbers of positive responses were analyzed using descriptive statistics, and differences between the PPE medical history form and the concussion symptom survey were assessed using χ2 analysis. Factor analysis was performed to assess for possible variance structure between reported symptoms.Results:Seventy-one percent of athletes reporting symptoms consistent with concussion were not identified as having a history of head injury on the PPE medical history form. The most common symptom on the CSS was headache, which accounted for 46 (56.1%) positive responses.Conclusions:The CSS revealed greater numbers of athletes experiencing symptomatic head injuries than the screening questions on the PPE history form. Screening for signs and symptoms of concussion may enhance the sensitivity of the PPE in detecting a prior history of concussion.

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