In a study that is thought to be one of the first of its kind, researchers have looked into what many consider to be a pervasive social problem that can negatively affect concussion sufferers. Perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of treating the problem stems from the social constructs associated with sports in general and a culture that would have young athletes push through their pain in order to keep playing the game.
As the New York Times reports, this push to keep playing while hurt can negatively impact a person suffering from a concussion because as the new study finds, when athletes in high school keep playing after getting hurt, it takes twice as long to recover the problem versus those who actually left the game right away. Although medical guidelines actually call for an athlete who suffers a head injury to be benched immediately in order to prevent any type of complication in the long-term and prevent the potential for an even more devastating consequence from getting hit again, this does not always happen.
Robert J. Elbin, the lead author for the study, indicated that this is one of the first studies done in which the ties between staying in the game after suffering a concussion and recovery time were truly detailed, according to Reuters. Essentially what has been determined is that not only does continuing to play often worsen the severity of the injury, but this new evidence also proves that continuing to play while injured will also extend the amount of time it takes to recover.
The study looked at 95 athletes, both boys and girls, between the ages of 12 and 19. A battery of tests were given, all within one to seven days after the concussion occurred and each athlete was interviewed regarding their injury and how long they continued playing. They were then given the same battery tests again between eight and 30 days after the injury occurred. As CBS News reported, the athletes who continued to play following their head injuries had much worse scores during the later tests, than those who were pulled from the game right away.
Researchers hope that with the information provided in this new study, athletes and their coaches will be more cognizant of an on filed injury. Knowing that it will take longer to recover from a concussion if one continues playing could be what is needed to shift the current societal norm of pushing through the pain when injured. For more CDA News, follow our tweets on Twitter and like us on Facebook.
By Dorothea James