Returning to sports after a concussion is usually what athletes want, but when is it actually safe to hit the field again? Dr. Timothy Johnson has some answers that may surprise you.
A football player tackled to the ground... A hockey defenseman slammed against the boards... The first question they often ask after a concussion is, "When can I play again?"
A new study suggests that simply feeling better isn't enough to justify a return to the field.
Researchers in New Mexico
looked at 50 young adults who had suffered mild concussions. In the first two
weeks after their knock to the head, they complained of memory problems, loss
of balance and other symptoms. No surprise there.
Here's what was surprising
- when 26 of these patients returned four months later, brain scans showed they
still had physical evidence of their concussions, even though their symptoms
In other words, even though they felt better, their brains were still healing.
It's a reminder to eager players that recovery can be a long process. So be careful after a concussion. Once they've taken one for the team, they need to take time off.
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