The role of family and personal psychiatric history in postconcussion syndrome following sport-related concussion: a story of compounding risk

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OBJECTIVE

Sport-related concussion (SRC) has become a major public health concern. Prolonged recovery after SRC, named postconcussion syndrome (PCS), has been associated with several biopsychosocial factors, yet the role of both family and personal psychiatric histories requires investigation. In a cohort of concussed high school athletes, the authors examined the role(s) of family and personal psychiatric histories in the risk of developing PCS.

METHODS

A retrospective cohort study of 154 high school athletes with complete documentation of postconcussion symptom resolution or persistence at 6 weeks was conducted. PCS was defined as 3 or more symptoms present 6 weeks after SRC. Three groups were defined: 1) positive family psychiatric history and personal psychiatric history (FPH/PPH), 2) positive FPH only, and 3) negative family and personal psychiatric histories (controls). Three bivariate regression analyses were conducted: FPH/PPH to controls, FPH only to controls, and FPH/PPH to FPH. Post hoc bivariate regression analyses examined specific FPH pathologies and PCS.

RESULTS

Athletes with FPH/PPH compared with controls had an increased risk of PCS (χ2 = 8.90, p = 0.018; OR 5.06, 95% CI 1.71–14.99). Athletes with FPH only compared with controls also had an increased risk of PCS (χ2 = 6.04, p = 0.03; OR 2.52, 95% CI 1.20–5.30). Comparing athletes with FPH/PPH to athletes with FPH only, no added PCS risk was noted (χ2 = 1.64, p = 0.247; OR 2.01, 95% CI 0.68–5.94). Among various FPH diagnoses, anxiety (χ2 = 7.48, p = 0.021; OR 2.99, 95% CI 1.36–6.49) and bipolar disorder (χ2 = 5.13, p = 0.036; OR 2.74, 95% CI 1.14–6.67) were significantly associated with the presence of PCS.

CONCLUSIONS

Concussed high school athletes with FPH/PPH were greater than 5 times more likely to develop PCS than controls. Athletes with only FPH were over 2.5 times more likely to develop PCS than controls. Those with an FPH of anxiety or bipolar disorder are specifically at increased risk of PCS. These results suggest that not only are athletes with FPH/PPH at risk for slower recovery after SRC, but those with an FPH only—especially anxiety or bipolar disorder—may also be at risk. Overall, this study supports taking a detailed FPH and PPH in the management of SRC.

ABBREVIATIONS FPH = family psychiatric history; ICD-10 = International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision; PCS = postconcussion syndrome; PPH = personal psychiatric history; SRC = sport-related concussion.

Article Information

Correspondence Scott L. Zuckerman: Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN. scott.zuckerman@vumc.org.

INCLUDE WHEN CITING Published online June 1, 2018; DOI: 10.3171/2018.3.PEDS1850.

Disclosures G. S. Solomon is a consultant for the Nashville Predators, Tennessee Titans, and the athletic departments of Tennessee Tech University and the University of Tennessee, fees paid to institution. He is also a consultant to the National Football League Department of Health and Safety.

© AANS, except where prohibited by US copyright law.

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