Br J Sports Med. 2023 Sep 12:bjsports-2023-106894. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2023-106894. Online ahead of print.
OBJECTIVE: Using a biopsychosocial framework and the three-factor fatigue model, we aimed to (1) plot recovery of fatigue over the 3 months following paediatric concussion and (2) explore factors associated with persisting fatigue during the first 3 months postconcussion.
METHODS: 240 children and adolescents aged 5-18 years (M=11.64, SD=3.16) completed assessments from time of injury to 3 months postinjury. Separate linear mixed effects models were conducted for child and parent ratings on the PedsQL-Multidimensional Fatigue Scale to plot recovery across domains (General, Cognitive, Sleep/Rest) and Total fatigue, from 1 week to 3 months postinjury. Two-block hierarchical regression analyses were then conducted for parent and child ratings of fatigue at each time point, with age, sex and acute symptoms in block 1 and child and parent mental health variables added to block 2.
RESULTS: There was a significant reduction in both child and parent ratings across the 3 months postinjury for all fatigue domains (all p<0.001). For both child and parent fatigue ratings, child mental health was the most significant factor associated with fatigue at all time points. Adding child and parent mental health variables in the second block of the regression substantially increased the variance explained for both child and parent ratings of fatigue.
CONCLUSION: Our findings confirm that fatigue improves during the first 3 months postconcussion and highlights the importance of considering child and parent mental health screening when assessing patients with persisting postconcussive symptoms.