Emotional Reaction of Varsity Athletes to Sport-Related Concussion

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 University of Toronto
  • 2 Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
  • 3 University of Toronto
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Despite suggestions that emotions influence recovery from injury, there is little research into the emotional sequelae of mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI), or “concussion,” in sport. This examination compares emotional functioning of college athletes with MTBI to that of uninjured teammates and undergraduates. A short version of the Profile of Mood States (POMS; Grove & Prapavessis, 1992) assessed baseline emotions in all groups, and serial emotional functioning in the MTBI and undergraduate groups. Whereas preinjury profiles were similar across groups, the MTBI group showed a significant postinjury spike in depression, confusion, and total mood disturbance that was not seen for the other groups. The elevated mood disturbances subsided within 3 weeks postinjury. Given that concussed athletes were highly motivated to return to play, these data could be used as a benchmark of normal emotional recovery from MTBI. Findings are discussed in relation to current literature on emotional reaction to injury and directions for future research.

Faculty of Physical and Health Education, University of Toronto, 55 Harbord St., Toronto, ON, M5S 2W6 Canada

Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, 550 University Ave., Toronto, ON, M5G 2A2

Dept. of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto.