Aaron Kesinger, Megan Leonard, Coral Holt, Yathavan Rajakulasingam, MD, Vicki Nelson, MD. University of South Carolina Greenville School of Medicine, Greenville, SC.

Purpose: Concussion is one of the most researched topics in sports medicine and there has been much research done on the correlation between concussions in sports and mental health conditions. Going through the literature on concussion, there is little research on age of athletes first experiencing a concussion and mental health conditions later in life. The goal of our research was to determine if age at first concussion correlates with a higher likelihood of being diagnosed with a new mental health condition or exacerbation of a previous mental health condition. Methods: In order to determine this, we surveyed 94 college athletes, asking them questions about their concussion history as well as their personal and family history of mental health. Some important survey questions included: “How many concussions have you had?” “How old were you when you experienced your first concussion?” “Have you ever been diagnosed with a mental health condition?” “Did you experience mental health symptoms following your concussion?” Results: Of the 94 participants, 32.9% had experienced a concussion in the past. The ages of first concussion of those 31 participants ranged from 12-18 years of age. Of those 31 participants who experienced a concussion, 25.8% reported experiencing a mental health symptom following the concussion such as mood changes, anxiety, sadness or irritability. The age of first concussion for those 8 students ranged from 11-17 years of age. None of those participants had been previously diagnosed with a mental health condition. Of those who experienced a mental health symptom following a concussion, 50% have had a family member diagnosed with a mental health condition. Significance: Based on this data, there does seem to be a correlation between experiencing a concussion early in life and subsequent mental health symptoms. This could mean that there is an increased risk of developing mental health symptoms following a concussion at a young age. More research should be done on those who have experienced concussions as we were limited to the responses of about 1/3 of our participants.

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