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Study: HS Athletes Need Longer Concussion Recovery

Paul Steinbach

A new study by Henry Ford Health System's Sports Medicine Research found that high school athletes in several sports are at more risk for concussions than previously recognized, and that the time it takes them to fully recover is greater than expected, according to a report by ABC affiliate WXYZ in Detroit.

The study, published in the journal Orthopedics, looked at records of 357 high school athletes treated for concussions at Henry Ford between 2013 and 2016. They were ages 14 to 18, and 62 percent were males.

While the concussion risk is high and known in football, the study found both hockey and soccer are sports where concussions are common. The study also found that teens may need a longer recovery for concussions than first thought.

“We thought that concussion issues would be very short-lived,” said Dr. Vasilios (Bill) Moutzouros, the chief of sports medicine at Henry Ford who co-authored the study. “That they wouldn’t have as many attention issues, that they’d be able to recover for their sport much more quickly. Our study found just the opposite.”

Michigan High School Athletic Association protocols call for players showing concussion symptoms to be sidelined for at least 24 hours, but athletes at a school with a Henry Ford athletic trainer sit out at least five days.

Researchers found athletes with only one concussion required at least 30 days of recovery prior to returning to the sport, while those with a second or more concussions required even more recovery time.

The study's breakdown of concussions by sport looked like this:

  • Football: 27.7 percent
  • Hockey: 21.8 percent
  • Soccer: 17 percent
  • Basketball: 9 percent
  • Cheerleading: 4.2 percent

"Other" sports played by 72 study participants accounted for an additional 20.3 percent of concussions.

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