Research Reports - The effect of concussion or mild traumatic brain injury on academic outcomes

J Neurotrauma. 2017 Jan 13. doi: 10.1089/neu.2016.4765. [Epub ahead of print]

Rozbacher A(1), Selci E(2), Leiter J(3), Ellis M(4), Russell K(5).

Concussion often results in symptoms including difficulty concentrating, focusing
and remembering that are typically managed with cognitive and physical rest. The
school environment is often not conducive to cognitive rest and may lead to
worsening or prolonged symptoms that can contribute to impaired academic
performance. The objective was to identify and summarize literature concerning
the effects of concussion or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) on academic
outcomes. MEDLINE, Embase, Scopus, and CINAHL were searched until June 1, 2016.
Studies must have been primary literature examining students enrolled in primary,
secondary, or post-secondary education, have received a physician diagnosis of
concussion or mTBI, and have post-injury academic outcomes assessed in numeric or
alphabet grade/grade point average (GPA), school attendance records, or national
exam scores. Data were extracted and checked by second reviewer for accuracy and
completeness. Nine studies were included. Among three studies that examined
grades, one found a significant difference in pre- and post- grades in only the
subject Afrikaans. Three examined national test scores and no significant
differences were found between cases and controls. Four examined school
absenteeism and found that students who developed post-concussion syndrome (PCS)
missed significantly more school days and took longer to return to school than
students with extremity injuries. Although mTBI or concussion is associated with
missed school, the results demonstrate minimal impact on school grades and
national exam scores at a group level. Further research is needed to identify
risk factors for impaired school functioning following mTBI and concussion in
individual patients. 

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