New research out of Michigan State University reveals female athletes and younger athletes take longer to recover from concussions, findings that call for physicians and athletic trainers to take sex and age into account when dealing with the injury.
Additionally, high school athletes performed worse than college athletes on verbal and visual memory tests, and some of the younger athletes still were impaired up to two weeks after their injuries.
“While previous research suggests younger athletes and females may take longer to recover from a concussion, little was known about the interactive effects of age and sex on symptoms, cognitive testing and postural stability,” said Covassin, a certified athletic trainer at MSU.
“This study confirms that age and sex have an impact on recovery, and future research should focus on developing treatments tailored to those differences.”
The research, funded by a two-year grant from the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, appears in the current edition of the American Journal of Sports Medicine.
Between 2001 and 2005, federal statistics reveal more than 150,000 sport-related concussions occurred among youth ages 14 to 19. However, the actual number is likely much higher, as current statistics reflects only concussions that involved visits to the emergency departments.
The study led by Covassin looked at nearly 300 concussed athletes from multiple states over two years. All of the athletes had previously completed a baseline test before taking three different postconcussion tests, the same ones used in professional sports, after being injured.
Read more in the MSU News release.