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Published Online: 1 June 2018

The Effects of Sex Differences and Hormonal Contraception on Outcomes after Collegiate Sports-Related Concussion

Publication: Journal of Neurotrauma
Volume 35, Issue Number 11

Abstract

There is conflicting evidence regarding whether females are more adversely affected after concussion than males. Further, recent research suggests that hormonal contraceptive (HC) use may affect symptom severity and duration post-concussion. The objective of this study was to examine the effects of sex and HC use on outcomes following concussion among collegiate varsity athletes. We hypothesized that females would have longer length of recovery (LOR), and that peak symptom severity would be associated with longer LOR in both males and females. Among females, we hypothesized that non-HC users would have longer LOR and higher peak symptom severity than HC users. Ninety collegiate student-athletes were included in this study (40 males, 50 females; 24 HC users, 25 non-HC users). Demographic, injury, and recovery information was abstracted via retrospective record review. LOR was defined as days between injury and clearance for full return to play by team physician. Peak symptom severity score (Sport Concussion Assessment Tool [SCAT] 2 or 3) was used in analyses. Study results revealed that males had shorter LOR than females (F[1, 86] = 5.021, p < 0.05, d = 0.49), but had comparable symptom severity scores. Symptom severity was strongly related to LOR for males (r = 0.513, p < 0.01) but not females (r = −0.003, p > 0.05). Among females, non-HC users demonstrated higher symptom severity than HC users (F[1,47] = 5.142, p < 0.05, d = 0.70). No significant differences between female HC users and non-HC users on LOR were observed. This study provides evidence for differential concussion outcomes between male and female collegiate athletes and between HC users and nonusers among females.

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Information & Authors

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cover image Journal of Neurotrauma
Journal of Neurotrauma
Volume 35Issue Number 11June 1, 2018
Pages: 1242 - 1247
PubMed: 29336208

History

Published in print: June 1, 2018
Published online: 1 June 2018
Published ahead of print: 27 March 2018
Published ahead of production: 16 January 2018

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Affiliations

Virginia Gallagher
Warren Wright Adolescent Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.
Natalie Kramer
Health Service, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.
Kristin Abbott
Health Service, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.
John Alexander
Health Service, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.
Hans Breiter
Warren Wright Adolescent Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.
Amy Herrold
Warren Wright Adolescent Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.
Edward Hines, Jr. Veterans Administration Hospital, Hines, Illinois.
Tory Lindley
Health Service, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.
Jeffrey Mjaanes
Health Service, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.
James Reilly
Warren Wright Adolescent Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago, Illinois.

Notes

Address correspondence to:Virginia Gallagher, MS710 North Lake Shore Drive, #7-312Chicago, IL 60611E-mail: [email protected]

Author Disclosure Statement

No competing financial interests exist.

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