Many athletes involved in contact sports receive concussions. Consequently, concussions are common experiences seen by sports physiotherapists. In light of the fact that concussions are always concerns for athletes who love playing football, hockey and similar types of contact games, the topic has been brought up more than once.
In the United States, approximately 3.2 million people suffer from concussions every year. One definition that is widely accepted is as follows:
“A complex pathophysiological process affecting the brain,
induced by traumatic biomechanical forces (Aubry et al. 2001)”
Prolonged recovery is associated with symptoms related to migraine headaches and sleep disorders. (Iverson, 2007; Lau et al., 2009; Lau et al., 2011). In addition, research shows that concussions resulting in lower cognitive abilities are possibly due to prolonged recovery periods.
An article written by Lau et al. (2011) seeks to classify symptoms that foretell recovery occurring after 21 days as opposed to less than seven days. The five-year study followed 107 athletes after they received concussions.
However, the researchers lost contact with some of the participants. Sports medicine therapists examined the athletes immediately after the incidents. The therapists noted the following symptoms:
Researchers wanted to know how much time athletes needed before they could return to play. Concussion specialists gave the athletes return to play clearance when all the known protocols were established. In essence, the clearance procedure included total restoration of all symptoms including restored cognitive abilities as measured by the Post Concussion Symptom Scale and the Immediate Post Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test (ImPACT).
The main question focuses on which symptoms are related to a prolonged recovery. Dizziness is the number one factor associated with the time it takes to recover from a concussion. People who reported that they felt dizzy were 6.34 times more likely to experience prolonged recoveries.
However, the study has a few shortcomings:
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