In a news release issued on Monday, it was announced that a research team being led by Jacob E. Resch, assistant professor of kinesiology at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, had made use of data that was gathered from 76 Division 1 athletes from the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) who had experienced a concussion while participating in the field of play.
These participating student-athletes were evaluated very methodically, within the first 24 hours of diagnosis of the concussion. They each completed a self-report of their symptoms – using a standard symptom checklist known as an ImPACT scale (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) on a single piece of paper, to assess themselves for the duration of time each of them had experienced any symptoms of neck pain, drowsiness, nervousness or tingling. On a second sheet of paper, a record was kept of the results of a computerized measure of balance known as the Sensory Organization Test.
Once these completed 24-hour records were gathered for each of the 76 students, the research team analyzed those five specific variables, and were able to then identify a specific formula, for which a total ImPACT symptom score for each individual could be tallied which represented those five factors: neck pain, drowsiness, nervousness, tingling, and balance,
Included alongside those symptoms was the total symptom severity recorded at the time of the clinical evaluation. The formula they created and tested correctly predicted 76 percent of the participants who recovered within 10 days of injury:
In a new article published in November in the Journal of Athletic Training, a research team led by Jacob E. Resch, assistant professor of kinesiology at UVA’s Curry School of Education, turned its attention to the duration of symptoms and found surprising results.
“We found that by looking primarily at the duration of a collegiate athlete’s specific concussion symptoms during the initial 24 hours after injury, we could accurately predict how long an athlete would have concussion-related symptoms,
Those athletes, for instance, who had a concussion event and who rated the duration of neck pain, drowsiness, nervousness and tingling who had recorded a higher “total symptom severity score” each then remained symptomatic for a longer period of time.
Professor Resch clarifies further:
“We know that the athletes in this data set were receiving a high level of care as part of an interdisciplinary concussion management protocol using several different clinical measures.
Our hope is that this preliminary formula may provide insight into how long a student-athlete would be expected to have symptoms related to their injury and assist in identifying athletes who may need additional support during their recovery.”
In his previous research, Prof. Resch observed the significance that their coach’s keeping concussed athletes completely off the field of play will have on the athlete’s capacity to recover, and being able to have some guidelines in place toward estimating the length of time the athlete will be allowed to recover. can assist in their having adequate supports provided academically, physically, and socially:
“The accuracy of this formula is also significant in that the data it draws upon are collected through very inexpensive means: literally the cost of two pieces of paper. It is an important reminder that while high-tech, expensive pieces of diagnostic equipment definitely have their place in this work, there is quite a bit we can do with simply talking to athletes about their symptoms and using that data wisely.”
Professor Resch and his team are presently undertaking the next step in the research effort, “to apply the formula to a larger set of collegiate athletes.”