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CSME|CAPDA Medico-Legal Summit - Michelle Keightley
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Assessing Post-Concussion Symptoms in Children and Youth: A Pre-injury Description of “Normal” Daily Stress
Anne Williams Hunt, PhD; Melissa Paniccia, MSc; Nick Reed, PhD; Michelle Keightley, PhD

Context: Physical, cognitive and emotional symptoms following a concussion sustained in a motor vehicle accident are interpreted to reflect a change from “normal” functioning. A description of the frequency and intensity of these symptoms in a non-medico-legal setting will clarify what is “normal” in this population.
Objective: To describe the frequency and intensity of symptoms and identify how age, sex, history of concussion, and learning factors influence the presence of pre-injury symptoms in child and youth athletes.
Methods: Symptom data were collected from 888 child and youth athletes via the Post-Concussion Symptom Inventory. Demographic data collected included age, sex, concussion history and learning factors.
Results: Children commonly reported feeling sleepier than usual (30% boys, 24% girls), and feeling nervous or worried (17% boys, 25% girls). More than half of youth (50% boys, 67% girls) reported fatigue and 32% of girls reported nervousness. Headaches, drowsiness and difficulty concentrating were also commonly reported (25% of youth boys and girls). For youth, a higher total symptoms score was associated with increasing age and number of previous concussions.

Conclusions: Concussion-like symptoms are commonly experienced by children and youth prior to sustaining a concussion and represent variation in experiencing daily stressors.

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