Postconcussion symptoms are associated with cerebral cortical thickness in healthy collegiate and preparatory school ice hockey players

Matthew D. Albaugh, Catherine Orr, Joshua P. Nickerson, Cole Zweber, James R. Slauterbeck, Scott Hipko, Jay Gonyea, Trevor Andrews, J. Curtis Brackenbury, Richard Watts, James J. Hudziak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Objective To investigate the degree to which concussion history and postconcussive symptoms are associated with cortical morphology among male hockey players. Study design Male subjects (n = 29), ranging in age from 14 to 23 years (mean 17.8 years), were recruited from preparatory school and collegiate ice hockey teams and underwent neuroimaging and baseline Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) testing. Cerebral cortical thickness was regressed against ImPACT Total Symptom Score (TSS), concussion history, as well as baseline measures of psychopathology. Reconstruction of surfaces and cortical thickness analysis were conducted with FreeSurfer (version 5.3.0). Results ImPACT TSS was inversely associated with local cortical thickness in widespread brain areas. Associations were revealed in a host of frontal as well as bilateral temporoparietal cortices. Conversely, concussion history was not associated with cortical thickness. An "Age by Concussion History" interaction was associated with thickness in the right ventrolateral and right parietal cortices. Post-hoc analysis revealed that concussed participants did not exhibit age-related cortical thinning in these regions. Conclusion We have identified an association between brain structure and postconcussive symptoms among young, otherwise-healthy male athletes. Postconcussive symptoms and related reductions in cortical thickness may be tied to participation in a full-contact sport that involves frequent blows to the head.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)394-400.e1
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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