Acute post-concussive symptoms in young children

Coco Bernard, Audrey McKinlay, David Krieser, Renee Testa, Jennie Ponsford

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Objectives: Despite peaks of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI) incidence in young children, few studies have examined the nature of post-concussive symptoms (PCSs) in children under the age of eight, whilst controlling for pre-injury symptoms and effects of trauma. The current study aimed to identify which PCSs differentiate children with mTBI from trauma controls early post-injury, and whether these differed among preschool and school-aged children. Methods: The sample comprised 101 children aged 2–12 presenting to an emergency department, with concussion or other minor bodily injury (control). Groups were divided by age (preschool and school-aged). PCSs were assessed within 72 hours post-injury using a comprehensive PCS checklist, administered to their parents via structured interview. Results: Parents of children with mTBI reported significantly more symptoms in their children than parents of children with other minor bodily trauma, p < 0.001, r = 0.84. Parents of preschool and school-aged children reported an equal number of symptoms. However, subtle differences were observed between symptom profiles of preschool and school-aged children. Conclusions: Primary care clinicians should be aware of post-concussive symptom presentations in children of varying ages, in order to provide optimal care, especially in younger children. Methods of eliciting symptoms may influence the identification of symptoms. This issue warrants further examination in the paediatric population.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1414-1421
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 6 Sep 2017


  • children
  • closed head injury
  • concussion
  • mild traumatic brain injury
  • outcome
  • post-concussive symptoms

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