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Hypothalamic Hormone Levels in Female Adolescent Athletes Following Sport Related Concussion

Lead Physician: Summer D. Ott, Psy.D. and co-investigators Pramod Dash, Ph.D., James McCarthy, M.D., & Paul Schulz, M.D. (McGovern Medical School at UTHealth), Brent Masel, M.D. & Dennis Zgaljardic, Ph.D. (Transitional Learning Center in Galveston)

Sports-related concussion has received tremendous attention recently in response to the dramatic effects of multiple concussions on many high-profile professional athletes. Despite the attention in the media devoted to concussion in elite athletes, the greatest impact of the injury may occur in younger athletes who can be at greater risk for protracted recovery and long-term neurological and neurocognitive problems. The majority of recent research on sport-related concussion in school-aged athletes has focused on male participants. Hence, the consequences of concussion in adolescent females are relatively understudied. We observe many adolescent females who experience lingering post-concussive symptoms and delayed return to play following a single concussion. The reasons for this are poorly understood. The goal of this two-year pilot study is to determine whether the duration of symptoms is related to reported emotional distress acutely in adolescent females following concussion. We will also measure serum levels of hypothalamic hormones within seven days of concussion to evaluate their relationship to concurrent, post-concussion symptom severity, psychological functioning, and cognition.