Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies

First Advisor

Ryane Lester, MPAS, PA-C


Background: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Concussions are a major health disorder. Continued research regarding the impact of concussions on athletes has led to an increased risk for lower extremity injury across a variety of populations following head trauma. Guidelines from the CDC use a self-reported symptom and cognitive examination for return to play.

Purpose: Current recommended guidelines increase the risk of lower extremity injury due to failure of identifying neurological deficits that persist following a concussion. This literature review aims to identify if athletes diagnosed with a concussion are at an increased risk of sustaining a lower extremity injury compared to non-concussed athletes.

Methods: A comprehensive literature review was conducted using using search terms <(athletes) and (Head injury, TBI, Traumatic brain injury, Concussion) and (Lower extremity injury, ankle injury, Knee injury)>. Inclusion criteria were studies published in 2015 and newer. Exclusion criteria were studies that were not in English.

Conclusions: Following a concussion, neurological deficits linger for an unestablished period, increasing the risk of lower extremity injuries. Studies have observed altered postural control, gait, stiffness, and jumping ability leading to lower extremity injuries. Current Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines recommend a symptom and cognitive approach for returning athletes to participation. By establishing a return to play examination that identifies neurological deficits lower extremity injuries may decrease.


SC 11.PAS.2022.Villalpando.CS