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Trends in concussion mechanism of injury during the COVID-19 pandemic

HumanInsight Trends in concussion mechanism of injury during the COVID-19 pandemic

J Neurol Sci. 2022 Dec 29;445:120538. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2022.120538. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: The primary objective was to determine the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on volume, demographics, and mechanisms of injury (MOI) for patients seen at an urban multidisciplinary concussion center. During the first phase of the pandemic in the United States, stay-at-home orders led to decreased group activities and required cancellation of outpatient appointments or initiation of telemedicine visits.

METHODS: This study was a retrospective chart review of 3500 patient electronic medical records (EMR). Patients aged 1-99 years were eligible if they had been seen at New York University Langone Health Concussion Center during March 1-December 31, 2019 (control/pre-pandemic period) or during the same period in 2020 (pandemic period). Injury date, appointment date, age, sex, and MOI were captured; statistical analyses were performed using Stata17 (StataCorp, College Station, TX).

RESULTS: There were 48% fewer visits during the COVID-19 pandemic period compared to the 2019 control period. There was a decreased proportion of pediatric patients (15% control, 6% pandemic; p = 0.007, chi-square test). Fewer concussions were related to team sports (21% control, 5% pandemic; p < 0.001), and a greater proportion were caused by bicycle accidents (4% control, 8% pandemic; p = 0.037) and assault/domestic violence (3% control, 9% pandemic; p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: The relative proportions of concussion MOI, age distributions, and visit volumes were significantly associated with pre-pandemic vs. pandemic periods, suggesting that COVID-19 changed concussion epidemiology during the pandemic period. This study demonstrates how epidemiologic data may inform future resource allocation during public health emergencies.

PMID:36608628 | DOI:10.1016/j.jns.2022.120538

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