Return to Play Effects Concussion Healing
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 10:39 AM

While a concussion is often considered a relatively minor brain injury and is somewhat common in athletes, it’s still important to take the time needed to fully recover before returning to play.  A recent study found that athletes recovering from a concussion had a regression in physical ability and brain function after returning to play.

A concussion is a brain injury marked by short-term loss of brain function following head trauma. The study authors examined the participants five different times following their injuries. They tested the patients' balance by asking them to walk and simultaneously complete a simple oral test, such as identifying whether a word was spoken in a high- or low-pitched tone.

Of the 19 athletes, 12 had more trouble with balancing or walking during the dual-task test than a group of athletes who did not have concussions. Of those 12, 10 had returned to play within a month of their injuries.  Returning to play appeared to slow recovery, the authors noted.  “There had been a continuous improvement prior to the athletes’ return to activity," but, after they returned, “We saw a turn in their recovery in the opposite direction.”