Effects of a Season of Sub-concussive Contact on Child-SCAT3 Scores in 8-12 Year-Old Male Athletes

Authors:  Jennings D, Sells P, Allison J, Boyd K, Frommert D, Kessler C, Merryman L, Muchmore J, Odom TJ, Salmon R, Robinson K

Each year, over 173,000 children and adolescents visit emergency departments due to sports and recreation related concussions, an increase of 60% over the last decade due to the rise in the number of children participating in sport. While numerous authors have sought to address the epidemiology of concussions across multiple age groups who participate in contact sports, a recent review of literature did not reveal a substantial amount of published articles that addressed the issue of sub-concussive contact.  Multiple tools have been developed to assess acute episodes of concussion.  Among the assessment protocols many include an assessment of balance, short and long term memory recall, and balance. The Child-SCAT3 was designed specifically to evaluate concussions in children 5-12 years of age.  The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of a season of sub-concussive contact on modified Child-SCAT3 scores in 8-12 year old males compared to their age matched peers who participated in non-contact sports. A secondary purpose was to evaluate how scores of the sub- components of the Child-SCAT3 compare between contact and non-contact athletes. No statistically significant differences were found in group, time or time and group interaction for any of the utilized portions of the Child-SCAT3.  Statistically significant differences were found between groups for preseason cognitive orientation and postseason immediate memory. Cognitive orientation and coordination were also found to be statistically significantly improved across both groups over the course of the season.  The authors concluded that a season of sub-concussive contact in football was not detrimental to cognitive and balance scores on the Child-SCAT3. 

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