Assessment of Sleep Quantity and Sleep Disturbances During Recovery From Sports-Related Concussion in Youth Athletes

Published:February 06, 2018DOI:



      To determine the relation between sleep quantity and sleep disturbances on symptoms and neurocognitive ability during the acute phase (<7d) and after sports-related concussion (SRC; >21d).


      Prospective inception cohort study.


      General community setting of regional middle and high schools.


      A sample (N=971) including youth athletes with SRC (n=528) and controls (n=443) (age, 10–18y).


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Athletes completed the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing battery. Partial correlation analyses and independent t tests were conducted to assess sleep quantity the night before testing. Multivariate analysis of covariance was used to assess sleep disturbances and their interaction with age.


      Less sleep quantity was correlated with greater report of cognitive (P=.001) and neuropsychological (P=.024) symptoms specific to prolonged recovery from SRC. Sleep disturbances significantly affect each migraine, cognitive, and neuropsychological symptoms (P<.001). A significant interaction was found between sleep disturbances and age (P=.04) at >21 days post-SRC.


      Findings emphasize that the continued presence of low sleep quantity and sleep disturbances in youth athletes with SRC should be a specific indicator to health professionals that these athletes are at an increased risk of protracted recovery. Further research should identify additional factors that may interact with sleep to increase the risk of protracted recovery.


      List of abbreviations:

      ANCOVA (analysis of covariance), ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing), MANCOVA (multivariate analysis of covariance), PCSS (Post-Concussion Symptom Scale), SRC (sports-related concussion)
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