Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), or concussion, is the result of a minor head injury. This potentially results in neural alterations which can cause long-term cognitive impairment, known as post-concussive syndrome. Many patients are admitted to the emergency departments every year for a mTBI, while less than half of them receive a prescription for a brain scan, bedrest or pharmacological treatment, and the majority are sent home without follow-up, emphasizing the lack of appropriate care provided following head injury.

A recent advancement in the field has highlighted the causal role of mTBI on cognitive impairment, but only a few studies investigated the impact of a concussion on (motor) learning. Patients, often students, present various motor deficits such as slower reaction time, longer preparation time to perform a task (Zahn and Mirsky 1999) or reduced movement velocity (De Beaumont et al. 2009). The underlying mechanism of motor learning deficits after concussion is a novel field that merits exploration. The rationale behind this is that mTBI is associated with sleep disturbances (Gosselin et al. 2009), and sleep is crucial for memory consolidation. Recently, a link between poor sleep quality following a concussion and both greater symptom severity and longer recovery time has been demonstrated both in adults and pediatric populations (Bramley et al. 2017; Chung et al. 2019). Yet the impact of sleep on motor memory consolidation following a brain injury is simply unexplored in the current literature. Dr. Aurore Thibaut (co-director of the Coma Science Group) and her team aim to study how sleep can influence functional and cognitive recovery of young adults who have suffered from a concussion.

We are running different projects to enhance the current knowledge of and improve concussion management in sport professionals, with the collaboration of ReFORM (Réseau Francophone Olympique de la Recherche en Médecine du sport), Prof. Jean-François Kaux (head of the department of Physical & Rehabilitation Medicine and Sport Traumatology, University Hospital of Liège), Dr. Suzanne Leclerc (director of the Sports Medicine Clinic, INS Québec) and Dr. Géraldine Martens (scientific coordinator of ReFROM). We also study biomarkers of poor and good outcomes following a concussion using EEG and fMRI, including polysomnography and actimetry to objectify sleep quality.

The CHU of Liege proposes a clinical care pathway for the management of concussions that is coordinated by the Centre du Cerveau². If you had a concussion and wish to have more information about it, please send an email to

More information can be found here and here :
Centre du cerveau – les soins aux patients
Centre du cerveau – la recherche