What is the impact of physical effort on the diagnosis of concussion?

Brauge, D., Dechambre, X., Carling, Christopher orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7456-3493, Decq, P., Pillard, F., Mrozek, S., Piscione, J., and Yrondi, A. (2019) What is the impact of physical effort on the diagnosis of concussion? Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine . ISSN 1050-642X

[thumbnail of Author Accepted Manuscript]
PDF (Author Accepted Manuscript) - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.


Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1097/JSM.0000000000000757


Sport-related concussion commonly occurs in contact sports such as rugby. To date, diagnosis is based on the realization of clinical tests conducted pitch-side. Yet, the potential effect of prior physical effort on the results of these tests remains poorly understood. The purpose of this study was to determine whether preceding physical effort can influence the outcome of concussion assessments.

Prospective observational study.

University Medicine Center

A cohort of 40 subjects (20 rugby players and 20 athletes from a range of sports).

A concussion assessment was performed immediately following physical activity. Following a period of 6 months and under the same experimental conditions, the same cohort performed the same tests in resting conditions.

Main outcome measure:
Results of concussion tests.

In both cohorts, the comparison for post-exercise and rest assessments demonstrated a most likely moderate-to-very large increase in the number of symptoms, severity of symptoms and BESS score. In the rugby cohort, scores for concentration, delayed memory and SAC, likely-to-most likely decreased following completion of physical activity compared to baseline values. The between-cohort comparison showed a greater impact post-exercise in the rugby players for delayed recall (0.73±0.61, 93/7/1) and SAC score (0.75±0.41, 98/2/0).

Physical activity altered the results of concussion diagnostic tests in athletes from a range of sports and notably in rugby players. Therefore, physical efforts prior to the concussion incident should be accounted for during pitch-side assessments and particularly during rugby competition and training.

Repository Staff Only: item control page