Exercise may help treat sport-related concussions better than rest, study shows

Written by Jackie Drees | February 08, 2019 | Print  |

Young athletes who participate in aerobic exercise after sustaining a concussion may experience a faster recovery, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics.

Five insights:

1. Researchers at University at Buffalo (N.Y.) analyzed 103 male and female athletes between the ages of 13 and 18 who had suffered a sport-related concussion within 10 days of the study's initial examination.

2. After determining participants' treadmill tolerance on the first visit, individuals were randomly assigned to an aerobic exercise group or a placebo-like stretching program, which would not substantially elevate heart rate.

3. Of the 103 participants, the groups were divided into:

• Aerobic exercise group — 28 males and 24 females
• Placebo stretch group — 27 males and 24 females

4. Participants from both groups performed their respective forms of exercise approximately 20 minutes per day and reported daily symptoms and exercise completed via a website.

5. Results of the study showed participants in the aerobic exercise group recovered faster, within 13 days, than the placebo stretch group, who recovered within 17 days.

Researchers concluded that exercise is an effective way to treat concussions in adolescent athletes, said study author John J. Leddy, MD, orthopedic surgeon and director of the UB Concussion Management Clinic at UBMD Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, according to NBC affiliate WETM.

"This research provides the strongest evidence yet that a prescribed, individualized aerobic exercise program that keeps the heart rate below the point where symptoms worsen is the best way to treat concussion in adolescents," Dr. Leddy told WETM.

More articles on sports medicine:
Akron Children's Hospital to launch cooling-therapy concussion clinical trial for young athletes
Kentucky orthopedic center launches data-analysis injury prevention program for athletes: 4 notes
Dr. Robert Anderson to perform ankle surgery on Wizards' John Wall: 4 details

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