SPORTS MEDICINE: COVID-19 craziness clouds concussion certainty

SPORTS MEDICINE: COVID-19 craziness clouds concussion certainty

Unfortunately, a recent study regarding concussion and recovery briefly surfaced last month in media reports that were off the mark. If you were to believe the articles published in the wake of the study, you would have thought the researchers had concluded that every high school student who suffers a concussion should be required to sit out a minimum of 30 days. However, neither the data generated by the study nor the researchers, discussing their findings, said any such thing. The source of the confusion was the study’s discovery that the AVERAGE time for return to sport among teenagers, following a concussion, was 30.4 days. Still, throughout the investigation, the study subjects were allowed to return to sport whenever neurocognitive tests returned to preconcussion levels and the athlete was able to complete “the six-step pathway recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with each step requiring a minimum of 24 hours and the athlete to remain asymptomatic.” Thus, there were athletes who returned as soon as seven days after being injured. Conversely, there were others who needed nearly two months. Completed at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, the study was published in the July/August issue of the journal Orthopedics. While the investigation did not discover a minimum teenage recovery time of one month, it did find that sports with the greatest number of concussions were football, hockey and soccer in that order. Hockey’s prominence is partially attributable to a higher-than-normal participation rate in the Motor City area.
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