Year of Publication

2019

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice

Committee Chair

Dr. Leslie Scott

Clinical Mentor

Dr. Sara Woodring

Committee Member

Dr. Diana Inman

Committee Member

Dr. Sarah Hart

Abstract

PURPOSE: In 2017, an estimated 2.5 million U.S. high school students reported having suffered at least one concussion while participating in sports or physical activity during the previous year. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the incidence of concussion among high school athletes and compare the athletes’ post-injury neurocognitive function to their baseline test results prior to returning to play.

METHODS: A retrospective records review of neurocognitive test scores of high school athletes during the June 2017 – June 2018 sport season was conducted. The records of 696 high school athletes were reviewed, including 30 post-injury test scores. Data were analyzed to determine the incidence of concussion during the sport season and evaluate differences in neurocognitive test scores between students who experienced concussion and those who did not.

RESULTS: No differences were found between gender or age of high school athletes for incidence of concussion. Thirty students experienced concussion during the 2017-2018 sport season. The sports where concussions occurred included archery (2.1%), basketball (4.4%), bowling (3.7%), cheerleading (4.1%), football (13%), golf (16.7%), soccer (3.9%), swimming (8%), tennis (2.9%), volleyball (4.5%), and cross country (10%). There was no difference found between baseline and post-injury neurocognitive scores in athletes who suffered a concussion during the sport season.

CONCLUSION: Concussion among high school athletes is a growing problem in the U.S. Risk of concussion is present in most high school sports. It is important to ensure athletes are not returning too soon following concussion. The fact that no differences were found between baseline and post-injury neurocognitive scores is encouraging. Although concussion injuries occur, this study verifies that current treatment protocols for concussion injuries instituted by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association are effectively ensuring cognitive healing prior to returning to play as evidenced by results found in this study.

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