Concussions May Adversely Affect Academics

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Children and adolescents still recovering from the effects of concussion are more likely to experience adverse academic effects, according to a study published in Pediatrics.

Danielle M. Ransom, PsyD, and colleagues sought to better understand the effects of postconcussion symptoms on academic performance on students in elementary, middle, and high school. The researchers analyzed school questionnaires from 349 students aged 5 to 18 who had sustained a concussion. Questionnaires were completed within four weeks of injury, with postconcussion symptoms used as a marker for injury severity.

Among symptomatic students, 88% reported at least one problem related to school, including headache, fatigue, and problems concentrating, while 77% reported diminished academic skills, such as trouble taking notes, longer time to complete homework, and problems studying. 

The symptomatic group also reported a higher level of impaired neurocognitive scores as measured by the Post-Concussion Symptom Inventory form than those who were no longer symptomatic.

Thirty-eight percent of those who were no longer symptomatic reported problems in school, and 44% reported academic effects. While those who were actively symptomatic were more likely to report having trouble in ≥ one class, 48% of students who were not actively symptomatic reported having trouble in class while recovering.

Compared to younger students, high school-aged students who were still recovering from symptoms reported significantly more adverse academic effects (P < .05). The researchers confirmed that symptom severity was positively correlated with total number of academic problems reported by the students and parents, regardless of time since injury (P<0.001).

The researchers recommended that school-based management based on postconcussion symptoms may help reintegrate students more effectively after injury, quell concerns of both parents and students, as well as low the risk of prolonged recovery for symptomatic students.

Concussions May Adversely Affect Academics
Post-Concussion Symptoms Affect Academic Performance

A sample of 349 students ages 5 to 18 who sustained a concussion and their parents reported academic concerns and problems (eg, symptoms interfering, diminished academic skills) on a structured school questionnaire within four eeks of injury. 

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