There is no treatment for concussions, but researchers at the University at Buffalo are looking at whether prescribing exercise might just help. Dr. John Leddy of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences evaluated 16-year-old Camryn Sullivan for concussion symptoms. Leddy examined Sullivan and invited her to join a new clinical trial on acute concussions among teens between 13 and 17 — the age group that takes longest to recover. Unlike most concussed patients, those taking part in the trial are prescribed exercise days after the concussion, instead of just rest.
One study showed that the exercise actually changed their brain from abnormal to normal. “It changed the blood flow in their brain from an abnormal pattern that we saw with concussion to a normal pattern that we saw with healthy people,” Leddy said. So Sullivan walked on a treadmill every day for 20 minutes at a gentle pace while monitoring her heart rate. “In this case we are hoping that by engaging the beneficial effects of exercise and the physiology of the brain, that this will actually speed recovery in kids with acute concussion.”