Concussion May Bring Greater Risks for Athletes with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder


Athletes who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be at greater risk for persistent anxiety and depression after a concussion than people who do not have ADHD, according to a preliminary study being presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s Sports Concussion Conference 2018.  

“These findings suggest that ADHD and concussion may have a cumulative effect on anxiety and depression beyond that of either ADHD or concussion alone,” said study author Robert Davis Moore, MS, PhD, of the University of South Carolina in Columbia. 

In the study, 979 college athletes at the University of South Carolina were evaluated for ADHD and any history of concussion was gathered, along with the athletes’ scores on questionnaires measuring anxiety and depression before the start of their sporting seasons.

Athletes with both ADHD and concussion had significantly higher scores on tests for anxiety and depression than athletes with only 1 or none of the 2 conditions, and this was true even though athletes with a history of concussion were evaluated 6 or more months after the traumatic brain injury, indicating that the differences lasted longer than what might be expected in the weeks after the concussion. Athletes with ADHD but no history of concussion did not show increased anxiety or depression


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