HealthDay News — High school football players are more likely to suffer more symptoms after a concussion, and to need more recovery time than their college counterparts; however, those who play in youth football leagues are the most likely to get back on the field less than 24 hours after a concussion, according to research published in JAMA Pediatrics.
Zachary Kerr, PhD, MPH, from the Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention in Indianapolis, and colleagues analyzed data from 3 injury programs. They found that 1429 sports-related concussions were reported among youth, high school, and college football players from 2012 to 2014. The most common symptoms reported were headache, dizziness, and difficulty concentrating.
Overall, 15.3% of players did not return to play for at least 30 days after a concussion, while 3.1% returned to play less than 24 hours after being injured. The researchers found that high school football players had the highest average number of reported symptoms of concussion (5.60), followed by college athletes (5.56) and younger players (4.76). For high school players, the likelihood of returning to play at least 30 days after concussion was higher (19.5%) than younger players (16.3%), or college football players (7.0%). The youngest players were the most likely to return to play less than 24 hours after suffering a concussion (10.1%), followed by college (4.7%) and high school players (0.8%).
“The finding related to return-to-play under 24 hours being the highest in the youth level is surprising, but may be the result of young football players struggling to identify concussion symptoms and express how they feel [to coaches or trainers],” Dr Kerr told HealthDay.
Kerr ZY, Zuckerman SL, Wasserman EB, Covassin T, Djoko A, Dompier TP. Concussion Symptoms and Return to Play Time in Youth, High School, and College American Football Athletes. JAMA Pediatr. 2016. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2016.0073.