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Dr. Friedman’s research on ADHD and concussion accepted for presentation at the 2020 SNS Symposium

Title: Do children with LD and/or ADHD differ at baseline on a pediatric measure used to assess concussion?


Sarah Friedman, PsyD. Sports Concussion Center of New Jersey, Princeton, NJ

Rosemarie Scolaro Moser, PhD. Sports Concussion Center of New Jersey, Princeton, NJ

Philip Schatz, PhD. Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, PA

Purpose: To examine differences at baseline between children with ADHD and/or LD vs. children with neither ADHD/LD on 1) neurocognitive scores and 2) child- and parent-reported concussion symptoms.

Methods: Retrospective data was obtained for 1856 children ages 5-11 who were assessed at baseline using ImPACT Pediatric. Groups were determined based on parent-reported diagnosis of their child at baseline (ADHD and/or LD vs. neither ADHD/LD), and groups were compared on the four factor scores: Sequential Memory, Word Memory, Visual Memory, and Rapid Processing and on parent- and child-reported concussion symptoms using a series of ANOVAs.

Results: ANOVAs revealed that children with ADHD/LD performed significantly worse than children without ADHD/LD on Sequential Memory [F(1,1845) = 69.86, p<.001)] and Word Memory [F(1,1853)=10.36, p=.001)]. In contrast, children with ADHD and/or LD performed significantly better on the neurocognitive measures of Visual Memory [(F(1,1845)=4.94, p=.026)] and Rapid Processing [(F(1,1853)=20.35, p<.001). Symptom reporting was significantly greater in the ADHD/LD group for both child (F(1,1853)=30.21, p<.001) and parent (F(1,1853)=34.64, p<.001) reported symptoms.

Conclusions: The current study demonstrated differences at baseline in children on neurocognitive performance and concussion symptom reporting based on diagnostic group. Analysis of symptom reporting suggested that children with pre-exiting diagnoses of ADHD and/or LD and their parents may report concussion-like symptoms at baseline, prior to ever experiencing a concussion. This finding reveals clinical implications for interpretation of post-concussion symptoms without a baseline comparison in children with pre-existing diagnoses such as ADHD and/or LD.

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