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Revised Pediatric Concussion Guidelines Reduce Duration of Symptoms

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 17, 2021 -- Changes in management of pediatric concussions are tied to a shortened length of reported symptoms, according to a study published in the January issue of the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine.

John M. Neidecker, D.O., from Orthopaedic Specialists of North Carolina in Raleigh, and colleagues assessed the impact of changes in concussion management on the duration of symptoms in middle school and high school athletes (ages 11 to 18 years) after sustaining a first-time, sports-related concussion. Athletes diagnosed between 2016 and 2018 were compared to those diagnosed between 2011 and 2013.

Among 182 athletes in total (110 male athletes), the researchers found that athletes of both sexes in the 2016 to 2018 data set reported a higher incidence of preexisting conditions associated with prolonged concussion recovery versus athletes in the 2011 to 2013 data set. However, shorter median duration of concussion symptoms was reported for both sexes from the 2016 to 2018 data set versus the 2011 to 2013 data set (median duration, five versus 11 days for male athletes and seven versus 28 days for female athletes).

"The most significant change in care involved a shift from strict rest or cocoon therapy to a return to low-intensity physical or cognitive activity after 24 to 48 hours," Neidecker said in a statement. "Our results show active rest dramatically improved recovery times among young athletes with first-time concussions."

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