Megan A. Mackey, Savannah Chenault, Hayleigh Heckman, Emily Ketchum, Meir Magal, FACSM, Kelly Bly, Shannon K. Crowley. North Carolina Wesleyan College, Rocky Mount, NC.

INTRODUCTION: Evidence suggests that sport-related concussion (SRC) may increase the risk for depression, but the precise mechanisms underlying the link between SRC and depression risk are not fully understood. Considering that sleep problems are frequently reported following SRC, and that sleep disturbances are also strongly linked to the development and maintenance of depressive disorders in other populations, it is possible that sleep changes associated with SRC may increase risk for depression. To date, there is limited study of the mediating role of sleep disturbances on depression risk following SRC. The purpose of this study, therefore, was to compare acute sleep disturbances, and depressive symptoms, between collegiate athletes who have sustained an SRC and non-concussed athletes. METHODS: Athletes from teams with higher concussion rates (football, soccer, volleyball, and basketball) completed consent procedures at the beginning of the academic year. NCWC athletic trainers then informed the research team when a consenting athlete sustained an SRC, and a matched (by age, sex, sport, and BMI) control subject was identified. Within 4 days post-SRC, both concussed (n=4) and control (n=4) participants completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) and a one-week sleep monitoring period (daily sleep diaries and wrist actigraphy). RESULTS: Preliminary results of this ongoing study showed that athletes who sustained an SRC exhibited significantly longer objectively-measured wake after sleep onset (70.9 min vs. 37.2 min; t = 2.8, p = 0.03), a significantly higher number of objectively-measured nighttime awakenings (29.9 vs.18.9; t = 3.16, p = 0.02), significantly lower self-reported sleep quality (t = -3.1 p = 0.02), and higher objectively-measured sleep fragmentation (37.1 vs. 25.8, t = 2.1, p = 0.08; trend) within the first few days post-SRC. Concussed athletes also reported higher depressive symptoms (BDI score 16.8 vs. 9.3; t = 1.32, p = 0.23), though this measure is not currently significant in this preliminary data. CONCLUSIONS: Preliminary results suggest that individuals who have sustained an SRC exhibited significantly more fragmented and disrupted sleep, and higher depressive symptoms, within the first few days post-SRC, compared to non-concussed controls. Future studies with longer follow-up are needed to investigate whether sleep mediates the link between SRC and depression.

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