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Aust Occup Ther J. 2018 Jun;65(3):168-175. doi: 10.1111/1440-1630.12457. Epub 2018 Mar 2.

Persistent symptoms and activity changes three months after mild traumatic brain injury.

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Occupational Therapy, School of Allied Health, College of Science, Health and Engineering, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Alfred Health, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Occupational Therapy, School of Health, Medical and Applied Sciences, Central Queensland University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Cerebral Palsy Alliance, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
National Trauma Research Institute, The Alfred Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.



Approximately, 80% of traumatic brain injuries are considered mild in severity. Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) may cause temporary or persisting impairments that can adversely affect an individual's ability to participate in daily occupations and life roles. This study aimed to identify symptoms, factors predicting level of symptoms and functional and psycho-social outcomes for participants with mTBI three months following injury.


Patients discharged from the Emergency Department of a major metropolitan hospital with a diagnosis of mTBI were contacted by telephone three months after injury. An interview with two questionnaires was administered: The Concussion Symptom Inventory (CSI) Scale and the Rivermead Head Injury Follow-Up Questionnaire (RHIFUQ). Data obtained were used to determine the type and prevalence of post-concussion symptoms and their impact on activity change.


Sixty-three people with mTBI participated in the study. The majority of participants (81%) reported that all symptoms had resolved within the three-month time frame. Of those still experiencing symptoms, workplace fatigue (22%) and an inability to maintain previous workload/standards (17%) were reported.


There is a small, but clinically significant, subgroup of patients who continue to experience symptoms three-month post-mTBI. Symptoms experienced beyond the expected three-month recovery timeframe have the potential to adversely affect an individual's ability to participate in daily occupation and return to work.


neurology; rehabilitation services; traumatic brain injury


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