J Neurosurg Pediatr. 2023 Nov 10:1-9. doi: 10.3171/2023.9.PEDS23241. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: Many schools utilize academic accommodations to help athletes return-to-learn after sport-related concussion, yet little is known about the impact of accommodations on recovery. In a cohort of adolescent athletes with sport-related concussion, the authors sought to 1) describe academic accommodations, 2) determine predictors of receiving accommodations, and 3) determine how accommodations influenced recovery, as defined by days to return-to-learn, symptom resolution, and return-to-play.
METHODS: A retrospective survey study was undertaken that included all athletes between the ages of 12 and 24 years who were seen at a regional sport-related concussion center from April 1, 2020, to April 1, 2022. Demographic characteristics, past medical history, injury characteristics, school-related factors, and recovery were collected via a telephone-based survey and from medical charts. The independent variable was the use of academic accommodations by students. The outcome variables included days to return-to-learn, symptom resolution, and return-to-play. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression analyses were performed.
RESULTS: Of 300 athletes contacted, 96 consented to participate in this study (mean age ± SD 16.6 ± 2.6 years, 60.4% male). The mean return-to-learn was 9.0 ± 13.2 days. In total, 63.5% of athletes received some kind of school accommodation. The most common accommodations included extra time on tests (46/96 [47.9%] athletes) and extra time for assignments (43/96 [44.8%]), whereas preferential seating in class (0/96 [0.0%]) and reduced workloads (4/96 [4.2%]) were the least commonly used accommodations. Multivariable logistic regression revealed that White race (OR 0.17, 95% CI 0.02-0.71, p = 0.03) and higher initial Post-Concussion Symptom Scale (PCSS) score (OR 1.04, 95% CI 1.01-1.07, p = 0.02) were predictive of receiving accommodations. Univariable models showed that receiving accommodations was not predictive of return-to-learn (β = 4.67, 95% CI -0.92 to 10.25, p = 0.10), symptom resolution (β = 24.71, 95% CI -17.41 to 66.83, p = 0.26), or return-to-play (β = 13.35, 95% CI -14.56 to 41.27, p = 0.35). Regarding other predictors of each outcome, several factors emerged irrespective of accommodations. Multivariable analysis revealed that longer time to return-to-learn was associated with a history of psychiatric illness (β = 8.00, 95% CI 1.71-14.29, p = 0.02) and initial PCSS score (β = 0.14, 95% CI 0.06-0.23, p < 0.01). Finally, predictors of days to return-to-play included school personnel who were knowledgeable of concussion (β = -5.07, 95% CI -9.93 to -0.21, p = 0.04) and higher initial PCSS score (β = 0.67, 95% CI 0.04-1.29, p = 0.03).
CONCLUSIONS: The most common accommodation was extra time on tests/assignments, whereas reduced workload was the least common. White race and greater initial PCSS score were associated with receiving accommodations. Receiving accommodations did not significantly impact days to return-to-learn, symptom resolution, or return-to-play.