January 20, 2020
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Early concussion care yielded faster recovery vs late care

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Anthony P. Kontos

Published results showed athletes who presented for clinical care within the first week of concussion injury experienced faster recovery compared with athletes who had delayed care postinjury.

Anthony P. Kontos , PhD, and colleagues categorized 162 athletes aged 12 to 22 years with diagnosed, symptomatic concussion into groups based on whether they received treatment within 7 days of injury (early group; n=98) or between 8 and 20 days of injury (late group; n=64). Researchers considered recovery time to be the main outcome and collected demographic factors, medical history and injury information. Researchers also measured concussion symptom severity, neurocognitive performance, and vestibular and ocular symptoms and impairment using the post-concussion symptom scale, the immediate post-concussion assessment and cognitive testing computerized test, and the vestibular/ocular motor screening tool, respectively.

Results showed similar symptom severity, cognitive, ocular and vestibular outcomes at the first clinical visit between the early and late groups. Patients in the late group had a 5.8-times increased likelihood of recovery longer than 30 days, according to results of the logistical regression. Researchers also found an association between a visual motion sensitivity score of more than 2 points with a 4.5-times increased likelihood of recovery longer than 30 days.

Based on these results, Kontos told Healio Orthopedics that patients should seek specialty care following a concussion as early as possible, which should involve “a comprehensive assessment and clinical exam that allows for more targeted treatment for specific symptoms and impairments.”

“Earlier care with a trained clinician allows patients to begin behavioral management strategies involving physical and cognitive activity, sleep, nutrition, hydration and stress management, all of which can enhance the recovery process,” Kontos said. “Patients should not wait for a week or more to seek care to see if things improve on their own, rather they should seek care as soon as they can to enhance their recovery process.” – by Casey Tingle

 

Disclosures: Kontos reports he received grants from National Football League, personal fees from APA Books and other support from University of Pittsburgh. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.