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Neurosurgery. 2007 Aug;61(2):352-9; discussion 359-60.

Functional brain abnormalities are related to clinical recovery and time to return-to-play in athletes.

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Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15203, USA.



The relationship between athlete reports of symptoms, neurophysiological activation, and neuropsychological functioning is investigated in a sample of high school athletes.


All athletes were evaluated using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), a computer-based battery of neurocognitive tests, and a subjective symptom scale. Athletes were evaluated within approximately 1 week of injury and again after clinical recovery using all assessment modalities.


This study found that abnormal fMRI results during the first week of recovery predicted clinical recovery. As a group, athletes who demonstrated hyperactivation on fMRI scans at the time of their first fMRI scan demonstrated a more prolonged clinical recovery than athletes who did not demonstrate hyperactivation at the time of their first fMRI scan.


These results demonstrate the relationship between neurophysiological, neuropsychological, and subjective symptom data in a relatively large sample composed primarily of concussed high school athletes. fMRI represents an important evolving technology for the understanding of brain recovery after concussion and may help shape return-to-play guidelines in the future.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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