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Racial identity and concussion diagnosis and recovery trajectories in collegiate athletes: a LIMBIC MATARS investigation.

Brain Injury 2023 September 11
OBJECTIVE: To determine if there were concussion diagnosis and recovery disparities between collegiate athletes with Black and White racial identities.

DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

METHODS: Concussion information was extracted from NCAA athlete medical files at LIMBIC MATARS member institutions from the 2015-16' to 2019-20' academic years. A total of 410 concussions from 9 institutions were included that provided all independent (i.e. racial identity of Black or White) and dependent variable information (i.e. dates of injury, diagnosis, symptom resolution, and return to sport) that were analyzed using Mann-Whitney U tests. The sample consisted of 114 (27.8%) concussions sustained by Black athletes and 296 (72.1%) sustained by White athletes.

RESULTS: The overall sample had a median of 0 days between injury occurrence to diagnosis, 7 days to symptom resolution, and 12 days to return to sport. No significant timing differences were observed for concussion diagnosis ( p  = .14), symptom resolution ( p  = .39), or return to sport ( p  = 0.58) between collegiate athletes with Black versus White racial identities.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings may reflect equitable access to onsite sports medicine healthcare resources that facilitate concussion management in the collegiate sport setting. Future work should explore these associations with a larger and more diverse sample of collegiate athletes.

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