Concussed Athletes May Not Be Good at Self-Reporting Recovery08/08/13
THURSDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Testing young athletes'
memory and thinking skills after they've suffered a concussion is a
more accurate way of assessing whether they have recovered, rather
than relying on them to report symptoms, a new study suggests.
Guidelines for returning to play after concussion have relied on
athletes' self-reports of symptoms, but there are concerns that
they are not able to truly recognize their own symptoms and
And when it comes to sports, the study authors noted,
cheerleading has the highest rate of catastrophic injury, with
concussion accounting for an estimated 6 percent of total
The new study included 138 junior and senior high school
cheerleaders who suffered a concussion and underwent at least one
follow-up evaluation within seven days of their injury. The
evaluation was done using Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and
Cognitive Testing (ImPACT), which assesses memory and thinking
Sixty-two percent of the cheerleaders reported symptoms such as
headache, nausea and dizziness after concussion. Of those who said
they had no symptoms, 33 percent had at least one ImPACT score that
showed evidence of concussion, the investigators found.
That means that these cheerleaders reported their symptoms
inaccurately, overestimated their recovery, or were unaware of
problems with their memory and thinking, according to the study
authors. The report is scheduled for publication in an upcoming
The Journal of Pediatrics.
"It is common knowledge that athletes may at times minimize or deny symptoms after injury to avoid being removed from competition," study co-author Dr. Gary Solomon, of Vanderbilt University, said in a journal news release.
The findings support the use of memory and skills testing after
concussion, and also show that doctors should be cautious about
giving athletes who've suffered a concussion the go-ahead to return
to play based solely on the athlete's self-reported symptoms, the
researchers pointed out.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about
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