Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Characteristics of Concussion in Youth

In addition to our main lines of Concussion research at CIRP, we are actively engaged in research activity to capture and describe characteristics of concussion in youth. Our researchers are studying the diversity and variability of the pediatric concussion patient population at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and more broadly. By doing so, clinicians will be better equipped to recognize and treat specific concussion symptoms, as well as to predict recovery outcomes.

Characteristics of Concussion in Youth Select Research Publications

  • Radiologic Common Data Elements Rates in Pediatric mTBI --  Radiologic common data elements (rCDE) have been developed to standardize reporting of radiologic findings in research settings for mTBI. However, the clinical significance of these findings remain unclear, with some findings more likely to be related to mTBI while others are only possibly related to mTBI and others are incidental findings. In this multi-site study, 287 patients with subacute pediatric mTBI, 106 matched healthy controls, and 71 orthopedically injured patients underwent imaging approximately 1 week postinjury and were followed for 3-4 months. Each category of rCDE was examined-- probable, possible or incidental findings. Probable rCDE were found at a rate of 4-5% in the population with mTBI and were not observed in either control group, whereas possible rCDE and incidental findings were found at similar rates across all three populations, indicating that refinement of rCDE in the context of pediatric mTBI may be helpful in differentiating populations with more significant injury with mTBI. CHOP researchers collaborated on this multi-site study with the lead authors.
  • Recovery Trajectories in Pediatric Female Concussion -- In a retrospective study of 117 children ages  7  to 18 years presenting to a specialty care practice for a sports-related concussion, researchers found that females took longer than males to recover and that the factor most associated with a longer recovery was the prolonged time to first visit as compared to males. Clin Sports Med. September 2019. Read this press release for more details.
  • Visio-Vestibular Markers for Concussion -- In a series of studies published between 2014 and 2018, CIRP researchers describe the eyes after concussion and how eye function deficits can predict prolonged recovery.
  • High School Football and Later Life Cognition --  In this study of men who graduated from Wisconsin high schools in 1957, playing high school football was not adversely associated with cognitive impairment or depression later in life.  Researchers from University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School and CHOP used data from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study (WLS) of high school graduates in the state in 1957, which included information on high school football participation and cognitive psychological well-being assessments of participants later in life in their 50s, 60s and 70s. However, the WLS data doesn’t include history of concussion and total exposure to football before high school. In the study of 3,904 men, high school football players were compared with their nonplaying counterparts and depression and cognitive impairment were assessed in their 60s and 70s using composite cognition and depression scores.The authors report cognitive and depression outcomes later in life were similar for high school football players and those who did not play. JAMA Neurology. July 2017.
  • Sports-Related Head Injuries in Adolescents: A Comprehensive Update -- This review article summarizes the current state of the rapidly changing field of sports-related head injuries of all severities with a particular emphasis on mild TBI (mTBI) and concussion in adolescents ages 10-19 years. The definition, incidence, epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis, management, long-term consequences and prevention of these injuries are discussed. Adolesc Med State Art Rev. December 2015.
  • Emergency Department Visits and Neuroimaging for Concussion Patients from 2006-2011 -- To better understand the epidemiology of concussion and rates of head computed tomography (CT) use in head injured patients in Emergency Departments, researchers conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the Nationwide Emergency Departments Sample (NEDS) and found rates of concussion visits increased over this time period for all age groups. The rate of CT use also increased, even though the severity of injury decreased. Academic Emergency Medicine. June 2015. Read this blog article for more details.
  • Characteristics of Prolonged Recovery – This study identified pre-existing characteristics (depression, anxiety) and presenting symptoms (abnormal oculomotor, dizziness) associated with prolonged recovery from concussion in a sample of patients referred to a pediatric sports medicine clinic. Read this blog article for more details.

Click here to read more about Characteristics of Concussion in Youth on the Concussion Surveillance page.