Musculoskeletal Medicine and PainOriginal Article

First Time Sports Related Concussion Recovery: The Role of Sex, Age, and Sport

John M. Neidecker, DO, ATC; David B. Gealt, DO; John R. Luksch, DO; and Martin D. Weaver, MD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: June 29, 2017

Accepted: August 1, 2017

Published: October 1, 2017

J Osteopath Med; 117(10): 635-642

Context: Concussion is one of the most common injuries in athletes. Current concussion consensus statements propose that female sex may be a modifying factor in concussion management and recovery.

Objectives: To determine whether female athletes in middle school and high school with a first-time, sports-related concussion remained symptomatic longer than their male counterparts.

Methods: A retrospective medical record analysis was performed among athletes who sustained a concussion between 2011 and 2013. Inclusion criteria consisted of age between 11 and 18 years and diagnosis of first-time concussion sustained while playing organized sports. Using the documented notes in the medical record, length of time that each athlete was symptomatic from his or her concussion was calculated.

Results: A total of 110 male and 102 female athletes (N=212) met the eligibility criteria for the study. A significant difference was found in the median number of days female athletes remained symptomatic (28 days) when compared with male athletes (11 days) (P<.001). No statistically significant difference was found in symptom duration between age groups. When matched for sex, no statistically significant differences were found in symptom duration between the type of sports played.

Conclusions: Female athletes aged 11 to 18 years with first-time, sports-related concussions remained symptomatic for a longer period when compared with male athletes of similar age, regardless of sport played. The mechanism behind this difference needs to be further elucidated.

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