Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

MS in Physician Assistant Studies (PA)


Physician Assistant Studies


Background: Sports-related concussions impact thousands of young athletes. They can lead to short- and long-term effects, such as headaches, behavioral changes, and memory issues. These consequences lead to general concerns about the safety of young athletes participating in sports. Comprehending the effects of concussions in this vulnerable population is crucial for developing more advanced preventive measures and management strategies. Methods: This systematic review followed PRISMA guidelines, searching Google Scholar, PubMed, and the Augsburg University Lindell Library databases. Relevant studies were identified using specific terms. Articles were included based on their relevance to youth or adolescent athletes and sports-related concussions. Studies that did not meet these criteria or were not published from 2018 and beyond were excluded. Results: The review analyzed 15 articles that investigated the effects of concussions on youth and adolescent athletes. Neurological/cognitive function revealed subtle cognitive impairments, altered brain structure, and changes in cognitive domains following concussions. Motor skills studies showed persistent deficits in balance control, visuomotor tasks, and other tasks. Mental health outcomes indicated a positive relationship between concussions and symptoms of depression. Lastly, school-related studies reported a decline in academic performance following concussions. Conclusion: Sports-related concussions have significant short- and long-term effects on youth athletes. The findings demonstrate the need for stricter return-to-play protocols, comprehensive rehabilitation programs, and mental health support during recovery. Prioritizing the health and safety of young athletes is vital for their well-being not only in sports but their livelihoods.


SC 11.PAS.2023.Ahmed.Y