Current Concepts in Sports Concussion: The Postconcussion Syndrome in Sports and Recreation

Background: There are still many unanswered questions about postconcussion syndrome (PCS) in sports and recreation. The predictors of PCS are unknown, although a history of previous concussion has been suspected.

Objective: To explore the clinical features and demography of PCS in athletes.

Methods: A retrospective cohort study was performed by chart review of clinical and demographic data of 285 consecutive concussed patients, 138 of whom had sports-related PCS based on ≥ 3 postconcussion symptoms lasting ≥ 1 month.

Results: The 138 athletes with PCS averaged 22.8 years of age, and 70 (50.7%) were ≤ 18 years of age. They averaged 3.4 concussions (range, 1 to > 12). Only 19.6% had no previous concussion. There was a history of previous psychiatric condition, attention-deficit disorder or attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder, learning disability, or previous migraine headaches in 21.0%. Ice hockey caused the highest number of the most recent concussions at 72 cases (52.2%). Soccer, snow skiing, equestrian sports, and basketball were less frequent causes. The average number of persistent symptoms was 7.6, and the median duration of PCS was 6 months at the first examination.

Conclusion: More than 80% of PCS cases had at least 1 other previous concussion. Half of the athletes with PCS were ≤ 18 years of age. PCS was associated with 7.6 symptoms per athlete. The duration of PCS and the number of symptoms were not related to the number of previous concussions, loss of consciousness, or return to play. Further research on treatment and prevention of PCS is required.

From: The Postconcussion Syndrome in Sports and Recreation: Clinical Features and Demography in 138 Athletes by Tator et al.

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