Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Recovery reversal seen in study of returning concussed athletes

Date:
August 20, 2014
Source:
University of Oregon
Summary:
When are athletes who have suffered concussions ready to return to action? A new study has found that high school athletes who head back on the field with medical clearance within 60 days experience a significant regression in their abilities to simultaneously walk and do simple mental tasks.

Li-Shan Chou, a professor of human physiology, directed research that measured the gait and cognitive skills, separately and combined, to study the impacts of concussions on high school athletes. While athletes showed recovery initially, many who returned to action in less than a month showed a regression in their abilities to dual task.
Credit: University of Oregon

When are athletes who have suffered concussions ready to return to action? A new University of Oregon study has found that high school athletes who head back on the field with medical clearance within 60 days experience a significant regression in their abilities to simultaneously walk and do simple mental tasks.

Related Articles


The regression, as seen in changes in their balance and/or altered walking speed, was found in 12 of 19 athletes. Ten of the 12 had returned to activity in less than a month. Seven athletes, who performed similarly to uninjured control subjects, had returned to action more than 20 days after their injuries. The athletes included 13 from football, four from soccer and one each from wrestling and volleyball.

The findings, published with the results presented more generally, were placed online ahead of print in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. The conclusions emerged after a closer examination of data detailed in an earlier study in the same journal in 2013. That study showed that 25 concussed high-school athletes had compromised abilities to focus and switch tasks for up to two months after their injuries. Assessments were done within 72 hours of injury and one week, two weeks, a month and two months later. Six of the athletes did not return to action in the study period and were excluded in the new analysis.

In the course of the original research, the athletes reported on when they had been cleared to resume practicing. At 28 days post injury, data suggesting a regression began to emerge, said principal investigator Li-Shan Chou, a professor in the UO Department of Human Physiology and director of the Motion Analysis Laboratory.

"We had seen this same type of curve in an earlier study of college athletes," he said. "We didn't have any evidence linking it to a return to activity, but we did discuss that possibility, because we knew that they usually were permitted to return to practice two weeks after a concussion."

The current practice for allowing most athletes to return to activity is mostly based on self-reports of symptoms and individual assessments of cognition or motor function.

For the new analysis, lead author David Howell, who received a doctoral degree at the UO in June and is now at Boston Children's Hospital, confirmed with medical staff and team trainers when the athletes had returned to activity. He focused on these athletes' individual data, comparing their return-to-activity status with the results of three tests: simply walking; separately doing simple computerized mental exercises; and a combination in which they walked and performed mental exercises simultaneously.

"There had been a continuous improvement prior to the athletes' return to activity," Chou said. "But at the data point taken after their return to activity, we saw a turn in their recovery in the opposite direction. When the athletes did a simple walking test, there was no regression. Just using the computer task to probe their cognitive functioning, we didn't see a regression. However, put together, we did."

In the dual task exercise, the athletes, while walking, heard a spoken word and identified whether it was delivered in a low- or high-pitched tone. In other variations, the subjects' were told, as they began walking, to recite months backward from October or subtract 7 repeatedly, beginning from 100.

The more complex a secondary task the greater the effect on a concussed individual than a non-injured control subject, Chou said. The earlier published study had found slowed reaction time of 30 to 40 milliseconds among concussed athletes two months after injury. "For many of us, that is just a blink of the eyes, but for athletes to be sure their bodily position is ready to perform a very skillful avoidance maneuver or prepare to safely take a collision, 30 milliseconds is a critical length of time for assuming that posture," he said.

Control subjects were healthy individuals of the same sex, body size, age and sport of the injured athletes. The research focused on frontal regions of the brain responsible for working, or short-term, memory and executive function.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Oregon. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David R. Howell, Louis R. Osternig, Li-Shan Chou. Return to Activity after Concussion Affects Dual-Task Gait Balance Control Recovery. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 2014; 1 DOI: 10.1249/MSS.0000000000000462

Cite This Page:

University of Oregon. "Recovery reversal seen in study of returning concussed athletes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140820140029.htm>.
University of Oregon. (2014, August 20). Recovery reversal seen in study of returning concussed athletes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140820140029.htm
University of Oregon. "Recovery reversal seen in study of returning concussed athletes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140820140029.htm (accessed November 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Following the closure of schools and universities in Guinea because of the Ebola virus, students look for temporary work or gather in makeshift classrooms to catch up on their syllabus. Duration: 02:14 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins