Do Concussions or Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries Affect Academic Outcomes in Students

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Rozbacher, Adrian
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A concussion is a complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain, which can result from traumatic biomechanical forces, often occurring in youth while playing sports. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, light and sound sensitivity, attention and concentration difficulties, memory problems, confusion, depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. Treatment of concussion involves physical and cognitive rest followed by gradual return to activity based on return-to-play guidelines. Cognitive rest includes avoiding tasks that require attention, such as school, watching television, texting, or reading. However, the school environment is not conducive to cognitive rest and premature return may prolong recovery, worsen symptoms, and result in poorer academic performance, cognitive difficulties, and greater absenteeism, ultimately decreasing health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Our objective is to develop a better understanding of the academic consequences and effects on quality of life among high-school students who sustain a sport-related concussion by examining the relationship between academic performance and HRQOL in youth who sustained an acute sport-related concussion compared with youth who sustained a sports-related fracture. Students will be recruited from the Pan Am Minor Injury Clinic and the Concussion Clinic at the IcePlex and quality of life surveys will be given. Pre and post-injury report cards and school attendance will be collected. An interview describing the student’s return to school process and associated challenges will be conducted. Focus groups with concussed students, parents, and education leaders will be conducted to develop a plan for effective reintegration of these students back into the classroom.
concussions, academic outcomes, mild traumatic brain injuries, health-related quality of life (HRQOL)