Study: Teen Athletes Experience Concussion Differently

Aug 17, 2014

A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Kentucky shows that adolescents experience symptoms of concussion differently.

Lisa Koehl, a doctoral candidate in the University of Kentucky’s Department of Psychology, and Dan Han, director of the Multidisciplinary Concussion program at UK HealthCare, studied 37 athletes age 12 to 17 with persisting symptoms for an average of 37 days after an concussion.


Their research showed that out of the 37 participants, 22 percent demonstrated post-concussive emotional symptoms, such as anxiety, aggression, mood changes and so on.

“We found that 23 percent, almost a quarter of these young teens were sensitive to light and 14 percent were sensitive to noise, whereas we couldn’t find comparable results in the other teens without the emotional symptoms,” Han said.

Out of the 15 teens without emotional symptoms, only 13 percent were sensitive to light while none of them were sensitive to noise.

The results suggest that teens experiencing sensitivity to light or noise are more likely to also show emotional symptoms.

Han said these finding are important because they shine a light on certain types of symptoms to look out for which could change the management of the treatments for concussions. It may help in planning when the teen can return to play and what accommodations need to be done at school during recovery.

Han added that to gain more treatment options this preliminary research need to be done on a larger scale.

“These are interesting and important findings but the findings are very preliminary and with a small sample size and it’s very important to replicate these findings with a large sample size,” Han concluded.