Concussion effects linger in young athletes: study

Eugene, OR – High school athletes who experience a concussion may hinder their recovery if they return to action within 60 days, according to a study from the University of Oregon.

Researchers found “significant regression” in 12 out of 19 athletes who had returned to the field with medical clearance after sustaining a concussion. Ten of the 12 had returned in less than a month. The group included 13 football players, four soccer players, one wrestler and one volleyball player.

For the study, researchers tracked athletes performing three tasks: walking, separately performing mental exercises, and a combination in which they simultaneously walked and performed mental exercises. Although athletes showed no regression on the first two tests after they had resumed practicing, they showed regression with the simultaneous exercise, researchers said.

“There had been a continuous improvement prior to the athletes’ return to activity,” principal investigator Li-Shan Chou, a professor of human physiology at the university, said in a press release. “But at the data point taken after their return to activity, we saw a turn in their recovery in the opposite direction.”

The study was published online Aug. 5 in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.