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Age does not Affect Post-Concussion Symptoms

Update Date: Sep 24, 2013 10:12 AM EDT

Concussions often affect teenage and adult athletes. Due to the intensity of the type of sport, such as football, concussions might have to be dealt with during every game. Over the past few years, researchers have started to study in depth the effects of concussions on the victims' brains. Some of these studies suggested the concussions lead to more symptoms for young athletes than older ones. In a new study, researchers found that that is not the case. In this study, the team reported that age does not affect the degree of post-concussion symptoms.

For this study, the researchers from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine compared the symptoms of middle and high school athletes to college athletes. Based on previous findings, they theorized that younger athletes would have more symptoms that were also more severe. Younger athletes would also take a longer time to recover. The researchers decided to focus their research on two age groups, which were 13 to 16-years-old and 18 to 22-years-old. There were 92 athletes with 56 percent female and 44 percent male in both groups. The researchers borrowed this data and information on concussions from the regional (western Pennsylvania) database, which was collected using the ImPACT® (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) group of tests.

After the researchers looked at the pre- and post-concussion interviews, they identified the symptoms associated with concussions. These symptoms included headache, nausea, fatigue, sleeping complications, dizziness, irritability and difficulties concentrating and remembering things. The researchers concluded that there was no significant difference between the two groups when it came to the number of symptoms they suffered from. There was also no difference in the severity of the symptoms nor was there a difference in the recovery time in both groups.

The researchers reasoned that some age-related differences might be noticeable in the long term after the sports-related concussion has healed. More research would need to be done to identify long-term risks and whether or not they are different between younger athletes and older ones.

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

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