Transitioning Concussion Care to Mental Health Care: A Case Study of an Elite Athlete

in Case Studies in Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
  • | 2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
  • | 3 Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
  • | 4 Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
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Athletes with recent concussion experience a constellation of physical (e.g., headache, nausea), cognitive (e.g., memory problems, difficulty concentrating), sleep, and emotional (e.g., anxiety, depressed mood) symptoms after injury. Mental health changes may also be a product of typical maturation in adolescents/young adults, making mood disruption difficult to disentangle from concussion sequelae. In this case study, we present the case of a high-achieving 18-year-old female rower whose concussion clinical trajectory exhibits this type of difficulty. Specifically, we provide a detailed chronological summary of the athlete’s visits with a multidisciplinary concussion team. We highlight in this case study (a) an individualized, biopsychosocial model of concussion care and (b) subtle aspects of her clinical presentation that led the clinical team to transition her treatment focus from concussion specific to formal mental health care.

Sherry (sherrynk@upmc.edu) is corresponding author. https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3370-1041

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