The cognitive, behavioral, and emotional deficits that may be associated with sports-related concussions among adolescents are unclear.
We examined the association between reported concussion history and factors relating to cognitive, behavioral, and emotional health among a population-based sample of US high school-aged adolescents.
Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.
Participants included a representative sample of US high school student-athletes who reported a concussion history (in the past 12 months) and relevant behaviors/outcomes within 3 domains: cognitive (academics, difficulty concentrating), behavioral (drinking and driving, carrying a weapon, physically fighting, tobacco use, marijuana use, binge drinking), and emotional (symptoms of depression, suicidal thoughts/actions). The adjusted relative odds of experiencing 0 and at least 1, 2, 3, or ≥4 concussions were modeled while mutually adjusting for the behaviors of interest in addition to age, race/ethnicity, and sleep problems. Data were reported in sex stratum.
A total of 13,268 participants were included in the unweighted data set. Overall, 14.5% (95% CI, 12.9%-16.2%) of female and 18.1% (95% CI, 16.4%-19.8%) of male student-athletes had at least 1 concussion in the past 12 months. As compared with those who reported not engaging in any of the behaviors deleterious to health or having had any of the negative health outcomes (composite score of 0), female athletes with composite scores of 1 to 4, 5 to 7, and 8 to 11 were 1.94 (95% CI, 1.55-2.43), 3.13 (95% CI, 2.30-4.33), and 6.05 (95% CI, 3.75-9.75) times more likely to have a recent history of concussions after accounting for relevant factors. As compared with those having a composite score of 0, male athletes with composite scores of 1 to 4, 5 to 7, and 8 to 11 were 2.03 (95% CI, 1.58-2.59), 3.80 (95% CI, 2.71-5.34), and 8.23 (95% CI, 4.91-13.77) times more likely to have a recent history of concussions after accounting for relevant factors.
Self-reported concussions among US high school athletes is related to several deleterious health behaviors and outcomes. These associations should be confirmed in longitudinal analyses.