Effects of Developmental Age on Symptom Reporting and Neurocognitive Performance in Youth After Sports-Related Concussion Compared to Control Athletes

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Abstract

There is increased necessity to focus research on school-aged athletes with sports-related concussion (SRC). This study assessed differences in symptom reporting and neurocognitive performance in youth athletes who sustained a sports-related concussion. A total of 1345 concussed and 3529 nonconcussed athletes (ages 8-21) completed the Immediate Post-concussive Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT). Analyses of covariance were conducted in order to assess differences in neurocognitive performance and symptom reporting between the sports-related concussion and control groups across age ranges. Longitudinal hierarchical linear modeling was employed to examine age and its relationship with rates of sports-related concussion recovery in neurocognitive performance. Results revealed athletes aged 13 to 15 had significantly lower neurocognitive performance scores compared to same-aged athletes without a history of sports-related concussion. With respect to the hierarchical linear modeling results, age was identified as a unique predictor of symptom recovery, particularly for ages 8 to 12. Results provide a better understanding of typical symptom reporting and neurocognitive outcomes for younger athletes across different ages.

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