December 9, 2023

Ann Biomed Eng. 2023 Sep 26. doi: 10.1007/s10439-023-03367-y. Online ahead of print.


Concussion has been described in the United States (US) collegiate student-athlete population, but female-specific findings are often underrepresented and underreported. Our study aimed to describe female collegiate student-athletes’ initial injury characteristics and return to activity outcomes following concussion. Female collegiate student-athletes (n = 1393) from 30-US institutions experienced a concussion and completed standardized, multimodal concussion assessments from pre-injury through unrestricted return to play (uRTP) in this prospective, longitudinal cohort study. Initial injury presentation characteristics, assessment, and return to activity outcomes [<48-h (acute), return to learn, initiate return to play (iRTP), uRTP] were collected. We used descriptive statistics to report injury characteristics, return to activity outcomes, and post-injury assessment performance change categorization (worsened, unchanged, improved) based on change score confidence rank criteria across sport contact classifications [contact (n = 661), limited (n = 446), non-contact (n = 286)]. The median (25th to 75th percentile) days to return to learn was 6.0 (3.0-10.0), iRTP was 8.1 (4.8-13.8), and uRTP was 14.8 (9.9-24.0), but varied by contact classification. Across contact levels, the majority experienced worse SCAT total symptom severity (72.8-82.6%), ImPACT reaction time (91.2-92.6%), and BSI-18 total score (45.2-51.8%) acutely relative to baseline, but unchanged BESS total errors (58.0-60.9%), SAC total score (71.5-76.1%), and remaining ImPACT domains (50.6-66.5%). Our findings provide robust estimates of the typical female collegiate student-athlete presentation and recovery trajectory following concussion, with overall similar findings to the limited female collegiate student-athlete literature. Overall varying confidence rank classification was observed acutely. Our findings provide clinically-relevant insights for athletes, clinicians, researchers, and policymakers to inform efforts specific to females experiencing concussion.

PMID:37751028 | DOI:10.1007/s10439-023-03367-y