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Zachary Spiera, Theodore Hannah, Adam Li, Nickolas Dreher, Naoum Fares Marayati, Muhammad Ali, Dhruv S. Shankar, John Durbin, Alexander J. Schupper, Alex Gometz, Mark Lovell, and Tanvir Choudhri

OBJECTIVE

Given concerns about the potential long-term effects of concussion in young athletes, concussion prevention has become a major focus for amateur sports leagues. Athletes have been known to frequently use anti-inflammatory medications to manage injuries, expedite return to play, and treat concussion symptoms. However, the effects of baseline nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) use on the susceptibility to head injury and concussion remain unclear. This study aims to assess the effects of preinjury NSAID use on concussion incidence, severity, and recovery in young athletes.

METHODS

Data from 25,815 ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) tests were obtained through a research agreement with ImPACT Applications Inc. Subjects ranged in age from 12 to 22 years old. Those who reported NSAID use at baseline were assigned to one (anti-inflammatory [AI]) cohort, whereas all others were assigned to the control (CT) cohort. Differences in head trauma and concussion incidence, severity, and recovery were assessed using chi-square tests, unpaired t-tests, and Kaplan-Meier plots.

RESULTS

The CT cohort comprised a higher percentage (p < 0.0001) of males (66.30%) than the AI cohort (44.16%) and had a significantly greater portion of athletes who played football (p = 0.004). However, no statistically significant differences were found between the two cohorts in terms of the incidence of head trauma (CT = 0.489, AI = 0.500, p = 0.9219), concussion incidence (CT = 0.175, AI = 0.169, p = 0.7201), injury severity, or median concussion recovery time (CT = 8, AI = 8, p = 0.6416). In a multivariable analysis controlling for baseline differences between the cohorts, no association was found between NSAID use and concussion incidence or severity.

CONCLUSIONS

In this analysis, the authors found no evidence that preinjury use of NSAIDs affects concussion risk in adolescent athletes. They also found no indication that preinjury NSAID use affects the severity of initial injury presentation or concussion recovery.

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Muhammad Ali, Nek Asghar, Adam Li, Theodore Hannah, Zachary Spiera, Naoum Fares Marayati, Nickolas Dreher, John Durbin, Alex Gometz, Mark Lovell, and Tanvir Choudhri

OBJECTIVE

Concussions in youth sports comprise an estimated 1.6–3.8 million annual injuries in the US. Sex, age, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been identified as salient risk factors for concussion. This study seeks to evaluate the role of premorbid depression or anxiety (DA), with or without antidepressant use, on the incidence of concussion and the recovery of symptoms and neurocognitive dysfunction after concussion.

METHODS

Immediate Postconcussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) was administered to 7453 youth athletes at baseline. Throughout the season, concussions were examined by physicians and athletic trainers, followed by readministration of ImPACT postinjury (PI) and again at follow-up, a median of 7 days PI. Individuals were divided into three categories: 1) unmedicated athletes with DA (DA-only, n = 315), athletes taking antidepressants (DA-meds, n = 81), and those without DA or antidepressant use (non-DA, n = 7039). Concussion incidence was calculated as the total number of concussions per total number of patient-years. The recovery of neurocognitive measures PI was calculated as standardized deviations from baseline to PI and then follow-up in the 5 composite ImPACT scores: symptom score, verbal memory, visual memory, visual motor skills, and reaction time. Univariate results were confirmed with multivariate analysis.

RESULTS

There was no difference in concussion incidence between the DA-only cohort and the non-DA group. However, the DA-meds group had a significantly greater incidence of concussion than both the DA-only group (OR 2.67, 95% CI 1.88–7.18, p = 0.0001) and the non-DA group (OR 2.19, 95% CI 1.16–4.12, p = 0.02). Deviation from baseline in PI symptom scores was greater among the DA-meds group as compared to the non-DA group (OR 1.14, 95% CI 1.01–1.28, p = 0.03). At follow-up, the deviation from baseline in symptom scores remained elevated among the DA-meds group as compared to the non-DA group (OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.20–2.20, p = 0.002) and the DA-only group (OR 1.87, 95% CI 1.12–3.10, p = 0.02). Deviation from baseline in follow-up verbal memory was also greater among the DA-meds group as compared to both the non-DA group (OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.08–2.27, p = 0.02) and the DA-only group (OR 1.66, 95% CI 1.03–2.69, p = 0.04).

CONCLUSIONS

Premorbid DA itself does not seem to affect the incidence of concussion or the recovery of symptoms and neurocognitive dysfunction PI. However, antidepressant use for DA is associated with 1) increased concussion incidence and 2) elevated symptom scores and verbal memory scores up to 7 days after concussion, suggesting impaired symptomatic and neurocognitive recovery on ImPACT.

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Theodore C. Hannah, Roshini Kalagara, Muhammad Ali, Alexander J. Schupper, Adam Y. Li, Zachary Spiera, Naoum Fares Marayati, Addison Quinones, Zerubabbel K. Asfaw, Vikram Vasan, Eugene I. Hrabarchuk, Lily McCarthy, Alex Gometz, Mark Lovell, and Tanvir Choudhri

OBJECTIVE

Concussion incidence is known to be highest in children and adolescents; however, there is conflicting evidence about the effect of age on concussion risk and recovery within the adolescent age range. The heterogeneity of results may be partially due to the use of age groupings based on convenience, making comparisons across studies difficult. This study evaluated the independent effect of age on concussion incidence, severity, and recovery in student-athletes aged 12–18 years using cluster analysis to define groupings.

METHODS

Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) scores of 11,403 baseline tests and 4922 postinjury tests were used to calculate the incidence rates for adolescent student-athletes grouped into 3 age bands (12–13, 14–15, and 16–18 years of age) on the basis of clustering analysis. The recently created Severity Index was used to compare concussion severity between groups. Follow-up tests for subjects who sustained a concussion were used to evaluate recovery time. The chi-square test and 1-way ANOVA were used to compare differences in demographic characteristics and concussion incidence, severity, and recovery. Multivariable logistic and linear regressions were used to evaluate the independent effects of age on concussion incidence and severity, respectively. Multivariable Cox hazard regression was used to evaluate differences in recovery time. Further analyses were conducted to directly compare findings across studies on the basis of the age groupings used in prior studies.

RESULTS

Multivariable regression analyses demonstrated that the 14- to 15-year-old age group had a significantly higher concussion incidence than both the 12- to 13-year-old (14- to 15-year-old group vs 12- to 13-year-old group, OR 1.57, 95% CI 1.16–2.17, p = 0.005) and 16- to 18-year-old (16- to 18-year-old group vs 14- to 15-year-old group, OR 0.79, 95% CI 0.69–0.91, p = 0.0008) age groups. There was no difference in incidence between the 12- to 13-year-old and 16- to 18-year-old groups (16- to 18-year group vs 12- to 13-year group, OR 1.26, 95% CI 0.93–1.72, p = 0.15). There were also no differences in concussion severity or recovery between any groups.

CONCLUSIONS

This study found that concussion incidence was higher during mid-adolescence than early and late adolescence, suggesting a U-shaped relationship between age and concussion risk over the course of adolescence. Age had no independent effect on concussion severity or recovery in the 12- to 13-, 14- to 15-, and 16- to 18-year-old groups. Further analysis of the various age groups revealed that results may vary significantly with minor changes to groupings, which may explain the divergent results in the current literature on this topic. Thus, caution should be taken when interpreting the results of this and all similar studies, especially when groupings are based on convenience.