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Time Span of Football Play Not Linked to Concussion Recovery

Age of first exposure to playing football not related to recovery from a college football concussion

THURSDAY, Sept. 10, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Longer exposure to playing football during childhood and adolescence appears to be unrelated to clinical recovery following college football concussion, according to a study published online Sept. 9 in Neurology.

Jaclyn B. Caccese, Ph.D., from the Ohio State University College of Medicine in Columbus, and colleagues assessed National Collegiate Athletic Association football players (age, 19 ± 1 years) with valid baseline data, including 294 participants evaluated within 24 to 48 hours following concussion, as well as 327 participants evaluated at the time they were asymptomatic.

The researchers found that younger estimated age of first exposure (eAFE) was associated with lower (worse) Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) Visual Motor Speed at 24 to 48 hours following injury and lower (better) Brief Symptom Inventory 18 (BSI-18) Somatization subscores when the athletes were asymptomatic. However, the effect sizes were very small. There was no association seen between eAFE and the number of days until asymptomatic, other ImPACT composite scores, Balance Error Scoring System total score, or other BSI-18 subscores.

“Our results may be reassuring for players and parents, but it is important to note that we were looking at one concussion at one point in time and current testing may not be sensitive enough to detect subtle changes,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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