An exploration of sport concussion recovery experience in university students


Introduction: A concussion is a serious brain injury that can result in debilitating psychological sequelae. Although most of the current literature focuses on elite athletes, it is important to explore the recovery experience of students who participate in recreational activities as they are also at risk of sustaining concussions. Objective: The aim of this study was to explore depression, anxiety, social support, and sleep in university students recovering from sport concussion, at the start and end of an exercise-based management program. Design: Quasi-experimental, prospective study using questionnaire batteries at two timepoints. Participants completed a multi-modal exercise protocol for concussion management at the University of Toronto, which was delivered in a supervised group setting. Participants: Nine university students (seven females, two males) who sustained a concussion from recreational sport or physical activity. Results: Reliable change indices demonstrate participation in the management protocol was associated with a change in the dependent variables for some participants. Selected cases and the role of potential factors in recovery are presented. Preliminary results on a sex and gender difference in recovery experience are discussed, as well. Conclusions: This research helps inform our understanding of the experiences of university students who sustain concussions in recreational sport. Such an understanding facilitates improvements to care and quality of recovery.

Acknowledgments: We would like to thank the participants of this study.