Diffusion tensor imaging of sport related concussion in adolescents

Concussion is among the least understood neurologic injuries. The impact of concussion on the adolescent brain remains largely unknown. This study sought to establish short-term changes in white-matter integrity after sports-related concussion in adolescents, and examine the association between changes in white-matter integrity and a clinical measure of concussion. Twelve adolescents, aged 14-17 years with a sports-related concussion within 2 months, and 10 age-matched adolescents with no history of concussion were evaluated with the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool 2 and diffusion tensor imaging. Two measures compared the two groups: fractional anisotropy and mean diffusivity. Whole-brain fractional anisotropy values significantly increased (F(1,40) = 6.29, P = 0.010), and mean diffusivity values decreased (F(1,40) = 4.75, P = 0.036), in concussed athletes compared with control participants. Total scores on the Sports Concussion Assessment Tool 2 were associated with whole-brain fractional anisotropy. Mean diffusivity values with lower scores were associated with higher fractional anisotropy (R2 = 0.25, P = 0.017) and lower mean diffusivity (R2 = 0.20, P = 0.038). We provide evidence of structural changes in the integrity of white matter in adolescent athletes after sports-related concussion.

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