Academic Dysfunction Among Injured Students Greatest Among Those with Concussions

According to a new study in the American Journal of Public Health, students with concussions show more academic dysfunction — or inability to perform at a normal academic level — one week after injury than students who experience extremity injuries.

Researchers from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry conducted a study from September 2013 through January 2015 of high school and college students who had visited three emergency departments in the Rochester, New York, area for a sports-related concussion or musculoskeletal extremity injury. Using telephone surveys, the researchers compared self-reported academic dysfunction between students with concussions and a comparison group of students with extremity injuries at 1 week and 1 month after injury.

Results showed that students with concussions had more academic dysfunction one week after injury than students who experience extremity injuries. Students with a concussion took longer to return to school post-injury and received more academic adjustments — such as extra time on tests and tutoring. The results also showed that female students and students with a history of two or more previous concussions were more susceptible to the effects of concussion. At one-month after injury, however, there were no observed differences between students with concussions and those with extremity injuries.

“Concussed students typically return to school within a week after injury, while their brains are likely still recovering,” the authors explain. “Our results emphasize the need for return-to-learn guidelines and academic adjustments based on gender and concussion history.”

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