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Should our treatments be gender-specific? effect of gender on recovery from persistent post-concussion symptoms in children and adolescents participating in an active rehabilitation intervention
  1. Isabelle Gagnon1,
  2. Jérôme Gauvin-Lepage1,2,
  3. Debbie Friedman2,3,
  4. Lisa Grilli3,
  5. Helen Kocilowicz3
  1. 1School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  2. 2Department of Pediatrics and Department of Pediatric Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  3. 3Trauma Centre, The Montreal Children’s Hospital of the McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Canada


Objective To estimate the extent to which gender contributes to severity of post-concussion symptoms (PCS) in youth with concussion, who are slow to recover and who receive an active rehabilitation intervention as part of their standard care.

Design A retrospective analysis of a prospective cohort

Setting Concussion Clinic of a Paediatric Trauma Centre in Canada.

Participants 355 youth with persistent PCS (188 girls; 167 boys). All Concussion patients’ information is entered prospectively in a clinical database and participants were selected for this study if they met the following criteria: 1) aged 6 to 17 years (mean=14.34, SD=2.22 years); 2) presenting with at least one PCS interfering with daily activities (mean total PCS score at initial assessment=24.50, SD=18.88), and 3) beginning an active rehabilitation intervention 4 weeks post injury (mean=30.46, SD=3.74 days).

Outcome measures Severity of post-concussion symptoms, measured by the PCS scale included in the SCAT3, was the dependent variable. PCS were assessed 3 times over a 4-week follow-up period.

Main results Boys presented with significantly less symptoms than girls 4 weeks post-injury, when starting the active rehabilitation intervention (PCSS total score mean; &male;=19.9, &female;=28.5, p<0.001, CI [−14.8, −6.4]). They continued to do so 2 and 4 weeks later, but the rate of recovery was slightly faster for girls over the follow-up period.

Conclusions Although there are gender differences in the levels of PCS 4-weeks post-injury, and while boys may recover earlier from persistent PCS, both boys and girls benefit from participating in an active rehabilitation intervention.

Competing interests None.

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