Study finds age doesn't impact concussion symptoms

October 15, 2013

Recent scientific findings have raised the fear that young athletes may fare worse after sustaining a sports-related concussion than older athletes.

Researchers in the Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center compared associated with in middle- and high-school aged with those in college-age athletes and found no significant differences between the two age groups.

The study, "Does age affect symptom recovery after sports-related concussion? A study of high school and ," was in the Journal of Neurosurgery: Pediatrics.

Lead authors were Vanderbilt University School of Medicine students Young Lee and Mitchell Odom. Other researchers were Scott Zuckerman, M.D., Gary Solomon, Ph.D., and Allen Sills, M.D.

In this retrospective study, the researchers reviewed a database containing information on pre-concussion and post-concussion symptoms in two different age groups: younger (13-16 years old) and older (18-22 years old). Athletes (92 in each group) were evenly matched with respect to gender, number of previous concussions, and time to the first post-concussion test.

Each athlete completed individual pre- and post-concussion questionnaires that covered a variety of symptoms associated with concussion, some of which were headache, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, sleep problems, irritability and difficulties with concentration or memory. Each athlete's post-concussion scores were compared to his or her own individual baseline scores.

The number or severity of symptoms cited at baseline and post-concussion showed no significant difference between the two . Symptoms returned to baseline levels within 30 days after concussion in 95.7 percent of the younger athletes and in 96.7 percent of the older athletes.

"In the evaluation of sports-related concussion, it is imperative to parse out different ways of assessing outcomes: neurocognitive scores versus symptom endorsement versus balance issues, school performance, etc," Zuckerman said.

"It appears that symptoms may not be a prominent driver when assessing outcomes of younger versus older athletes. We hope that our study can add insight into the evaluation of youth athletes after sports-related concussion."

Explore further: Risk factors identified for prolonged sports concussion symptoms

Related Stories

More severe concussion symptoms lead to longer recovery time

April 25, 2013

Most children who suffer from sports-related concussions recover within a few days. However, in a small number of children, symptoms can last for a month or more. Although there have been numerous theories as to what might ...

Getting enough ZZZs may play a part in concussion testing

July 13, 2013

Athletes who didn't get enough sleep the night before undergoing baseline concussion testing didn't perform as well as expected, say researchers presenting their work today at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's ...

Recommended for you

New device to get people with paralysis back on their feet

February 8, 2016

The brain machine interface consists of a stent-based electrode (stentrode), which is implanted within a blood vessel in the brain, and records the type of neural activity that has been shown in pre-clinical trials to move ...

Modelling how the brain makes complex decisions

February 4, 2016

Researchers have constructed the first comprehensive model of how neurons in the brain behave when faced with a complex decision-making process, and how they adapt and learn from mistakes.

The amazing axon adventure

February 5, 2016

How does the brain make connections, and how does it maintain them? Cambridge neuroscientists and mathematicians are using a variety of techniques to understand how the brain 'wires up', and what it might be able to tell ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.