Despite common perception, concussion recovery may exceed 2 weeks
Most patients with sports-related mild traumatic brain injuries need longer than 14 days to recover, according to a published study.
For their study, Stephen Kara, MBChB, FRNZCGP, Dip Sports Med, MPhil (Hons), and colleagues at the Axis Sports Medicine Clinic in Auckland, New Zealand, tested sports-related mild traumatic brain injury (SR-mTBI) recovery time and factors. They assessed 594 patients (mean age 20.2 years, 77% were men) every 2 weeks during a 2-year period. The patients were grouped into three age categories (children, adolescents and adults) and were given instructions to rest followed by controlled cognitive and physical loading.
“Forty-five percent of participants showed clinical recovery within 14 days of injury, 77% by 4 weeks after injury, and 96% by 8 weeks after injury,” the researchers wrote in their study. “There was no significant difference in recovery time between age groups. Prolonged recovery was more common in females (P = .001), participants with ‘concussion modifiers’ (P = .001), and with increased time between injury and the initial appointment (P = .003).”
Researchers concluded that while there are similar recovery rates between age brackets, recovery time from a SR-mTBI is longer than 10 to 14 days, and only after 28 days is a patient likely fully recovered. They suggested that active rehabilitation provides the best odds of a successful and timely recovery for patients. – by Max R. Wursta