By Dr. Eugene Bailey MD

Athletes at any age can suffer symptoms of a concussion. Whether it’s on the soccer field, football field or any other sport where contact can take place that can cause injury to the brain, the risk is always there. But researchers have looked a bit further regarding the effect of the concussion and recovery time as it relates to age group (high school or college athletes), and the athlete’s gender (male or female).

In a 2012 prospective cohort study (level of evidence = 2b) performed at Michigan State University, they analyzed those real factors and the provided results. The purpose of the survey was to examine gender and age vs. symptoms, neurocognitive performance (NCT), and postural stability following a concussion. The original hypothesis was that high school and female athletes would have worse symptoms, NCT, and postural stability than college and male athletes, respectively.

The study titled – “The Role of Age and Sex in Symptoms, Neurocognitive Performance, and Postural Stability in Athletes After Concussion,” looked at 296 concussed athletes from a multistate 2-year study.

Here are some of the key results and conclusions;

The participants of the study included 203 male and 93 female athletes with 203 at high school age and 93 at the college level. Four states took part in the survey (California, Michigan, Louisiana and Tennessee). It involved athletes who sustained a concussion during the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 academic years.

Extensive testing was done on concussion symptoms, neurocognitive performance, and postural stability. For detailed results, measuring differences between the various age groups and gender of the participants, see the original paper (link below).

Key findings from the study concluded that high school concussed athletes performed worse than college concussed athletes on verbal and visual memory testing. Regarding gender, female concussed athletes performed worse than males on visual memory testing and reported more postinjury symptoms after a concussion.

Another conclusion supports age differences in memory and gender differences in memory and symptoms. The different recovery times for concussed high school and collegiate athletes in this study are also in line with previous research that has suggested that high school athletes take longer to recover from a concussion than collegiate athletes.

Testing began for the participants at the time of the head trauma and again at 2, 7 and 14 days after the concussion to monitor the results at those intervals.

To read the complete study and results, follow the attached link below;

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