Background Sports-related concussions are prevalent in the United States. Various diagnostic tools are utilized in order to monitor deviations from baseline in memory, reaction time, symptoms, and balance. Evidence indicates that dehydration may also alter the results of diagnostic tests. Purpose The purpose was to determine the effect of exercise-induced dehydration on performance related to concussion examination tools. Study Design Repeated measures design. Methods Seventeen recreationally competitive, non-concussed participants (age: 23.1±3.1 years, height:168.93±10.71 cm, mass: 66.16 ± 6.91 kg) performed three thermoneutral, counterbalanced sessions (rested control, euhydrated, dehydrated). Participants were either restricted (0.0 L/hr) or provided fluids (1.0 L/hr) while treadmill running for 60 min at an intensity equal to 65-70% age-predicted maximum heart rate (APMHR). The Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 3 (SCAT3) was utilized to assess symptoms, memory, balance, and coordination. Results Statistically significant differences were seen among sessions for symptom severity and symptom total. The rested control session had significantly lower values when compared to the dehydrated session. Additionally, the symptom total in the rested control was significantly lower than the euhydrated condition as well. No statistically significant differences were seen for the BESS or memory scores. Conclusions Mild exercise-induced dehydration results in increased self-reported symptoms associated with concussions. Clinicians tasked with monitoring and accurately diagnosing head trauma should take factors such as hydration status into account when assessing patients for concussion with the SCAT3. Clinicians should proceed with caution and not assume concussion as primary cause for symptom change. Level of evidence Level 3.
- Concussion management
- Movement system
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine