Currently, neuropsychological testing is mandated within the National Hockey League15 and the majority of National Football League franchises are also routinely using this tool.14 To date, neuropsychological testing has not been widely implemented at the high school level, and there are no published studies in which recovery from concussion in high school athletes has been systematically investigated.
The lack of research with high school athletes is alarming for several reasons. First, based on participation levels, the largest majority of at-risk athletes are at the high school level or below. Second, at least 17 deaths related to second impact syndrome3 (which results from a second concussive insult closely following the first) were reported in the scientific literature between 1992 and 1997,2 and cases of second impact syndrome continue to be reported. The majority of victims have been high school athletes between the ages of 13 and 18 years, suggesting greater vulnerability to severe injury in children and young adults. In addition, investigators in recent laboratory studies in a rodent model have documented changes in brain metabolism that persist 7 days or more after mild injury.9 This research has also raised concerns about the cumulative effects of concussion in humans.
The goals of this study were threefold: 1) to evaluate memory impairment following mild concussion in high school athletes and document recovery within the 1st week postinjury; 2) to evaluate the relationship between duration of on-field markers of concussion and recovery of memory processes within the 1st week postinjury; and 3) to evaluate the relationship of self-reported postconcussion symptoms to performance on neuropsychological testing.
American Academy of Neurology: Practice parameter: the management of concussion in sports (summary statement). Report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee. Neurology 48:581–5851997American Academy of Neurology: Practice parameter: the management of concussion in sports (summary statement). Report of the Quality Standards Subcommittee. Neurology 48: