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Female & Younger Athletes Take Longer to Recover from Concussions

Posted Jun 08 2012 10:09pm
Posted on June 6, 2012, 6 a.m. in Brain and Mental Performance | Child Health | Trauma | Women's Health |

Between 2001 and 2005, US federal statistics reveal more than 150,000 sport-related concussions occurred among youth ages 14 to 19 years. However, the actual number is likely much higher, as current statistics reflects only concussions that involved visits to the emergency departments. Tracey Covassin, from Michigan State University (Michigan, USA), and colleagues assessed 296 concussed athletes from multiple states over two years. All of the athletes had previously completed a baseline test before taking three different postconcussion tests, the same ones used in professional sports, after being injured. The team found that female athletes 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. The study authors write that: “The results of the current study supported age differences in memory and sex differences in memory and symptoms and an interaction between age and sex on postural stability after concussion,” urging for “consideration from clinicians and researchers when interpreting symptoms, specific components of [neurocognitive testing], and postural stability tests.”

Tracey Covassin, R.J. Elbin, William Harris, Tonya Parker, Anthony Kontos. “The Role of Age and Sex in Symptoms, Neurocognitive Performance, and Postural Stability in Athletes After Concussion.”  Am J Sports Med., April 26, 2012.

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