Clinical Outcomes Assessment for the Management of Sport-Related Concussion

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Patient Scenario:

An adolescent female youth soccer athlete, with a previous concussion history, suffered a second concussion 4 wk ago. Her postconcussive symptoms are affecting her school performance and social and family life.

Clinical Outcomes Assessment:

Concussion is typically evaluated via symptoms, cognition, and balance. There is no specific patient-oriented outcomes measure for concussion. Clinicians can choose from a variety of generic and specific outcomes instruments aimed at assessing general health-related quality of life or various concussion symptoms and comorbidities such as headache, migraine, fatigue, mood disturbances, depression, anxiety, and concussion-related symptoms.

Clinical Decision Making:

The data obtained from patient self-report instruments may not actively help clinicians make return-to-play decisions; however, these scales may be useful in providing information that may help the athlete return to school, work, and social activities. The instruments may also serve to identify issues that may lead to problems down the road, including depression or anxiety, or serve to further explore the nature of an athlete’s symptoms.

Clinical Bottom Line:

Concussion results in numerous symptoms that have the potential to linger and has been associated with depression and anxiety. The use of outcomes scales to assess health-related quality of life and the effect of other symptoms that present with a concussion may allow clinicians to better evaluate the effects of concussion on physical, cognitive, emotional, social, school, and family issues, leading to better and more complete management.

Valovich McLeod is with the Athletic Training Program, A.T. Still University, Mesa, AZ. Register-Mihalik is with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.