UF study finds it's harmful to delay reporting concussions
Published May 23rd, 2016
GAINESVILLE, Fla.--Athletes may be more inclined to report a concussion after the findings of a new University of Florida study.
The University of Florida has a concussion center and collects information on athletes that have suffered a sport-related concussion. A UF graduate student came up with the idea to use this data for a research study last year.
"One day one of our grad students, Bret Asken, was discussing the databank and we were talking about return to play and it was his idea that we may find a difference in the time if takes people to recover based on if they took another hit and if they kept playing right after the injury," says Dr. Jay Clugston, a UF team physician.
The study looked at 97 male and female gator athletes, all of whom that were diagnosed with a sport-related concussion between 2008 and 2015.
"We found that if you looked at our athletes that had a concussion and didn't let someone know right away and kept playing, if you looked at them versus our group of athletes that stopped play immediately and reported their symptoms to us, that the ones that kept playing and tried to push through actually took about five days longer to recover and make it back to play," says Dr. Clugston.
Asken said in a statement, "Concussions are treatable. If properly managed, there is no reason for an athlete to expect anything except returning to school and their sport in a relatively short amount of time, barring unique complications."
The University of Florida's study is unique because it looks at when a concussion was reported and when that athlete was able to play again.
"That was the exciting thing about our study," says Dr. Clugston. "It was one of the first and it showed what we as clinicians felt was true but we really didn't have the data before this study in order to confidently and truly say that to our athletes.
Dr. Clugston says he's excited because now he can tell athletes not only is it safer to report concussions immediately, but they can get back to playing quicker as well. "And for an athlete that's important news and a message that they will probably pay more attention to," explains Dr. Clugston.
Both Dr. Clugston and Asken say they hope the findings of this study will result in more athletic trainers on the sidelines at all contact sports...not just at the collegiate level.
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