Evaluating Changes in Depression Symptoms and Neurocognitive Impairments among Male and Female Concussed High School and Collegiate Athletes.

Principle Investigator: Tracey Covassin, Ph.D., ATC

Institution: Michigan State University, Department of Kinesiology

Title: Evaluating Changes in Depression Symptoms and Neurocognitive Impairments among Male and Female Concussed High School and Collegiate Athletes

Rationale:
Concussions remain a serious public health concern, as approximately 1.6 t 3 million sport-related concussions are reported each year. The hidden nature of the signs and symptoms that accompany concussion make managing this injury difficult. Empirical data suggest there may be gender and age differences in concussion outcomes. Specifically, college-aged males have been found to sustain more severe concussions, while college-aged females appear to be at a higher risk of concussion. However, these gender differences have yet to be explored in high school populations. Researchers also suggest that high school athletes may take longer to recover than collegiate athletes. In addition to these age and gender differences on concussion outcomes, recent studies have suggested that there may be a relationship between depression and mild traumatic brain injury patients in retired NFL players. However, no study to date has prospectively examined potential changes in depression symptoms during the recovery process between genders in high school and collegiate athletes who have sustained a concussion.

Purpose:
The purpose of this study is to investigate depression symptoms, neurocognitive impairments, postural stability, and post-concussion symptom scores among concussed male and female high school and collegiate athletes.

Hypotheses:

  1. Concussed high school athletes will exhibit more prolonged neurocognitive impairments, post-concussion symptoms, and balance problems than concussed collegiate athletes.
  2. Athletes will exhibit changes in depression symptoms following a concussion.
  3. There will be gender differences on neurocognitive performance, post-concussion symptom scores, and postural stability between concussed high school and collegiate athletes.

Methods:
A prospective cohort design will be used to compare baseline concussion and depression symptoms, neurocognitive function, and postural stability to post-concussion and depression symptoms, neurocognitive function, and postural stability. The Concussion in Sport Group (Vienna/Prague) guidelines will be used to evaluate a concussion. All athletes (N=~3500) will complete a baseline ImPACT neurocognitive test, sideline mental assessment (Standardized Assessment of Concussion-SAC), Balance Error Scoring System (BESS) and the Beck Depression Inventory-II(BDI-II). All concussed athletes (N!150) will be administered the ImPACT, SAC, BESS, and BDI-II 2 days, 7 days, and 14 days post-concussion. This research is essential in contributing to the science of concussion and will potentially provide valuable information on post-concussion cognitive status, postural stability and depression among male and female high school and collegiate athletes.

 

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