Study Shows Recovering from a Concussion Could Take Longer Than Expected
Less than half of patients with a sports-related traumatic brain injury such as a concussion recover within two weeks. The new research study challenges current perceptions that most people with sports-related head injuries recover within 10 to 14 days. The research’s authors at Axis Sports Medicine in Auckland, New Zealand, analyzed recovery time in nearly 600 patients in New Zealand treated during a two-year period for sports-related traumatic brain injuries. More than three out of four were male and their average age was 20. About 7.5% were under the age of 12.
What the Study Found
All patients followed a standard protocol that included 48 hours of relative rest, which means they avoided physical and mental tasks that could aggravate their head injury. They then gradually increased such tasks. After 14 days, the study found 45% of patients had recovered. Recovery rose to 77% after four weeks and to 96% eight weeks after the injury. The recovery times were similar across all age groups.
However, current guidelines from the global Concussion in Sports Group say nearly all sports-related concussions resolve within 10 days. The study’s findings appear in the March issue of the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine. The study also noted that recovery times were longer for female athletes and for individuals with a history of migraines or mental health issues.
Those who delayed seeking treatment also had a slower recovery, researchers found. In the United States, guidelines for youth concussions call for follow-up care from a health care provider after the emergency room visit. Then, they call for a gradual return to school and sports when recovery is complete.
Call for More Caution and Care
This study highlights the importance of making sure young athletes who suffer concussions get enough time off the field so they can recover completely. We know now that concussions cannot be dismissed as “minor” head injuries. They have the potential to result in long-term and sometimes, irreversible brain damage. This is particularly the case when patients don’t get sufficient rest or treatment before returning to the field.
Our California traumatic brain injury lawyers have always emphasized the need for coaches and educators to assume responsibility when it comes to the issue of concussion treatment and management. Our youth are too valuable a resource to neglect. If you or a loved one has suffered a concussion due to someone else’s negligence, it is important that you contact an experienced brain injury lawyer who will help ensure that your legal rights are protected.