Continuing to play despite a concussion doubles recovery time for teen athletes and leads to worse short-term mental function than in those immediately removed from action, a study found. The study was published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
The study involved athletes aged 15 on average from several sports, including football, soccer, ice hockey and basketball who had concussions during a game or practice. Half continued to play and took 44 days on average to recover from symptoms, versus 22 days in those who were immediately sidelined. Sidelined players reported symptoms immediately, including dizziness, headaches, mental fogginess and fatigue, and were diagnosed with concussions by trainers or team physicians. The others, who continued playing for 19 minutes on average, delayed reporting symptoms and were diagnosed later. Those who continued to play had worse scores on mental function tests performed eight days after the concussion and 30 days after the concussion. Medical records showed mental function had been similar in all players before their concussions.