BALTIMORE —Physical activity within 7 days of a concussion could decrease concussion symptom recovery time in children more effectively than resting, according to recent research presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting.
“Current concussion protocols endorse the conservative view that children should avoid physical activity until completely symptom-free; however, little evidence beyond expert opinion has informed the return-to-play graduated timing and type,” Roger Zemek, MD, of the department of pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, said during a presentation.“The effect of early physical activity in concussion has been underexplored. Therefore, the objective of this study was to investigate the relationship of early resumption of physical activities… within 7 days of injury regarding a concussion and the subsequent development of persistent post-concussive symptoms.”
To examine the relationship between continuing physical activity almost immediately after injury against the manifestation of post-concussion symptoms, the researchers studied 3,063 children aged 5 to 18 years with acute concussion diagnosis from 9 Canadian pediatric emergency departments. Physical activity participation and symptom severity were gauged using a participant-reported survey. The researchers also conducted follow-ups at 7, 14 and 28 days.
Study results demonstrated that early physical activity following injury was associated with reduced persistent post-concussive symptoms (P< .001). The researchers found that after matching 1,294 children by propensity scores, early exercise was still associated with a reduction in post-concussion symptom persistence (P< .001).
“With regards to this [study], I would not advocate that children return to anything beyond light, low-risk physical activities.” Zemek said during a question-and-answer session. “I would not recommend that kids return to [ice] skating or biking on a road; I would recommend walking, hiking or activities without risk of collision.” —by David Costill
Zemek R, et al. Abstract # 2605.3. Presented at: Pediatric Academic Societies 2016; April 30 - May 3, 2016; Baltimore.
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