New research confirms athletes often head back into the game on the same day. Shane Miller, MD, a pediatric sports medicine specialist in Plano, Texas, noticed a significant number of his patients reported they returned to play after a concussion before being cleared by a medical professional, despite medical guidelines, state law and educational efforts. They analyzed records for 185 patients between the ages of 7 and 18 treated for concussion at a Texas pediatric sports clinic during a 10-month period in 2014. 71 (38 percent) reported returning to play on the same day as their initial injury. Patients who immediately returned to play after their injury reported less severe symptoms of dizziness and balance problems immediately after being hurt.
By the time they were seen in the clinic, however, these patients were statistically more likely to report the presence and increased severity of nausea, dizziness, balance problems, sensitivity to light and noise, feeling “slowed down,” pressure in the head, confusion and trouble with both concentrating and falling asleep. Dr. Miller emphasized the ongoing need for concussion education. “We need to emphasize the message, `when in doubt, sit them out — and keep them out — until full recovery,” he said.