To examine the effect of age and level of competition on subtle motor performance in adolescents who have recently been medically-cleared post-concussion (MC post-concussion) and never-injured controls.
Thirty adolescents who were recently MC post-concussion (12-18 years) and 30 never-concussed, typically-developing controls were examined using the Revised Physical and Neurologic Examination of Subtle Signs (PANESS) and the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test (ImPACT) RESULTS: Older age was associated with better ImPACT scores in both groups, while only the control group showed improved motor performance on the PANESS with increasing age. Adolescents across both groups participating at a higher level of competition (school or travel level) had better motor performance on the PANESS than those participating at a lower level of competition (recreational level or no sports participation). Adolescents MC post-concussion had greater motor deficits on the PANESS than controls.
Following medical clearance, adolescents with a history of recent concussion demonstrate alterations in the relationship between motor function and age. The PANESS merits further exploration as a measure that is sensitive to factors affecting motor performance such as age and level of athletic competition as well as to persistent subtle motor deficits in adolescents MC post-concussion.