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Study shows concussion recovery may take longer for female, younger athletes

Much has been written about measures being taken to prevent and better diagnose concussions among athletes. Now findings published in the latest issue of American Journal of Sports Medicine show that age and gender may be important factors in how players recover from head injuries.

In the two-year study (subscription required), researchers monitored nearly 300 athletes from multiple states who had suffered a concussion. All of the participants completed a baseline test before taking three different post-concussion tests, the same ones used in professional sports following a head injury. According to a university release:

The study... found females performed worse than males on visual memory tests and reported more symptoms postconcussion.

Additionally, high school athletes performed worse than college athletes on verbal and visual memory tests, and some of the younger athletes still were impaired up to two weeks after their injuries.

"While previous research suggests younger athletes and females may take longer to recover from a concussion, little was known about the interactive effects of age and sex on symptoms, cognitive testing and postural stability," said [Michigan State University researcher Tracey Covassin, PhD, who led the study.]

"This study confirms that age and sex have an impact on recovery, and future research should focus on developing treatments tailored to those differences."

Previously: Report finds brain injuries rising among high school football players, Study suggests teens are more vulnerable to effects of sport-related concussions, Should parents worry about their kids playing football? and A conversation with Daniel Garza about football and concussions
Photo by Big West Conference

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