The Long-Term Effects of Sports-Related Concussions
University of Wisconsin--Stout
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The goal of this study is to explore the long-term effects of concussions, especially those that result because of sports-related activity, on balance. Although balance problems are one of the most reported physical symptoms following sport-related concussion (Geurts, Knoop, & van Limbeek, 1999), the frequency and development of long-term balance problems caused by concussion are not well documented. Male and female college students who played at least three years of high school sports (N=175) were surveyed on their high school sports-related activity and concussion history. It was hypothesized that students with a history of concussions would have poorer balance than those who never experienced a concussion. Participants answered questions about their sports-related activity in high school and their history of concussion. They then performed a balance task under three conditions (eyes open, eyes closed, and eyes closed with a cognitive task). Balance performance, as a measure of the standard deviation of the amount of sway for each condition, indicated that participants with a concussion of history demonstrated significantly more sway than those who never experienced a concussion across all conditions. The results suggested that concussions have long-term effects on a person’s balance and stability. More research is needed to evaluate concussions and possible differing long-term effects within female participants.
Institutional Review Board Approval