Long-term Effects of Adolescent Sport Concussion Across the Age Spectrum

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Abstract

Background:

Research in sport concussion has increased greatly over the previous decade due to increased scientific interest as well as the media and political spotlight that has been cast on this injury. However, a dearth of literature is available regarding the long-term (>1 year after concussion) effects of adolescent concussion on cognitive and motor performance of high school athletes.

Purpose:

To evaluate the potential for long-term effects of concussion sustained during high school on cognitive and motor performance across the lifespan.

Study Design:

Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.

Methods:

Adults with (n = 30) and without (n = 53) a concussion history were recruited in 3 age groups: younger (18-30 years; n = 43), middle-aged (40-50 years; n = 18), and older (≥60 years; n = 22). Each participant completed a computerized neurocognitive assessment and continuous tracking and discrete temporal auditory tasks with the hand and foot. Root mean squared error and timing variability were derived from the tracking and temporal auditory tasks, respectively. Data were analyzed by regression analyses for each recorded variable.

Results:

The analysis revealed significant age effects on neurocognitive task, continuous tracking task, and discrete auditory timing task performance (P values < .05). No concussion history or interaction (concussion history by age) effects were found for performance on any task (P values > .05).

Conclusion:

While longitudinal investigations are still needed, this cross-sectional study failed to identify any observable effect of adolescent concussion history on cognition or motor performance with age.

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