Friday, May 11, 2012

Age and Gender Affect Sport-Related Concussion Symptoms and Outcomes


High school football players have made the news frequently in the past year regarding the unreasonably high rate of concussions.  Steps have been taken on both a government and school level to start improving how such injuries are evaluated.  However, girls have remained an under-served group when it comes to sport-related concussions.
Researchers at Michigan State University studied 296 athletes of different ages and genders over a two year period.  They measured the baseline neurocognitive performance of athletes and then repeated the same measurements on several days in the two weeks following the occurrence of a concussion.  They discovered that, on average, female athletes performed worse on visual memory tests and reported more symptoms as compared to their male counterparts in the two weeks post-concussion.  In addition, when comparing the effects of age on memory following the incidence of a concussion, high school athletes performed worse than college athletes in both visual and verbal memory.
The high incidence of sport-related concussions is of great concern over all ages and genders.  However, based on this research, perhaps it is time to take extra precaution when it comes to younger athletes and female athletes who are participating in contact sports.
 Read the abstract here.

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