The Use of an Electrophysiological Brain Function Index in the Evaluation of Concussed Athletes

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To evaluate the effectiveness of the electroencephalographic (EEG) Brain Function Index (BFI) for characterizing sports-related concussive injury and recovery.


Three hundred fifty-four (354) male contact sport high school and college athletes were prospectively recruited from multiple locations over 6 academic years of play (244 control baseline athletes and 110 athletes with a concussion).


Using 5 to 10 minutes of eyes closed resting EEG collected from frontal and frontotemporal regions, a BFI was computed for all subjects and sessions. Group comparisons were performed to test for the significance of the difference in the BFI score between the controls at baseline and athletes with a concussion at several time points.


There was no significant difference in BFI between athletes with a concussion at baseline (ie, prior to injury) and controls at baseline (P = .4634). Athletes with a concussion, tested within 72 hours of injury, exhibited significant differences in BFI compared with controls (P = .0036). The significant differences in BFI were no longer observed at 45 days following injury (P = .19).


Controls and athletes with a concussion exhibited equivalent BFI scores at preseason baseline. The concussive injury (measured within 72 hours) significantly affected brain function reflected in the BFI in the athletes with a concussion. The BFI of the athletes with a concussion returned to levels seen in controls by day 45, suggesting recovery. The BFI may provide an important objective marker of concussive injury and recovery.

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