High School Athletes’ Health-Related Quality of Life Across Recovery After Sport-Related Concussion or Acute Ankle Injury: A Report From the Athletic Training Practice-Based Research Network

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Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine


Background: Evaluating adolescent athletes’ perceived health status after a sport-related injury can provide important direction for health promotion strategies and preparation for a successful return to play. Furthermore, comparing specific injury types regarding their impact on athletes' perspectives of their global and domain-specific health perceptions allows for a more detailed understanding of an athlete's experience while also providing avenues for targeted treatment strategies. Purpose: To compare health-related quality of life (HRQOL) between high school athletes who had sustained either a concussion or an acute ankle injury and compare how these injury types related to their global and domain-specific HRQOL across recovery. Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 3. Methods: Electronic medical records created by athletic trainers working in 32 high school facilities were examined, and records from 1749 patients who sustained either a sport-related concussion (n = 862) or ankle sprain (n = 887) were screened for inclusion. HRQOL was assessed by self-reported scores on the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) at 2 time points after injury (T1 = 0-2 days; T2 = 11-29 days). A 2-way group by time analysis of variance was conducted to examine differences in trajectories and disrupted areas of HRQOL. Results: Overall, 85 patient cases (46 concussion, 39 ankle sprain) fit the inclusion criteria. Each injury group exhibited improved global and domain-specific PedsQL scores between their 2 measured time points (P <.05), indicating recovery. However, domain-specific comparisons revealed that at T2, patients who had sustained an ankle sprain reported significantly lower PedsQL physical functioning scores (78.3 ± 19.3 vs 86.2 ± 15.7 for concussion; P =.005), whereas patients who had sustained a concussion reported lower scores related to their school functioning (80.0 ± 20.0 vs 90.8 ± 12.7 for ankle sprain; P =.006). Conclusion: The study results indicated that in high school athletes, the trajectories and disrupted areas of HRQOL stemming from a sport-related injury may be influenced differentially when comparing concussions with ankle sprains.



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