Children and adolescents who suffer a concussion have a significantly longer recovery time if they have had a concussion in the past.
In the study, “Time Interval Between Concussions and Symptom Duration,” in the July 2013 Pediatrics (published online June 10), researchers studied 280 patients between the ages of 11 and 22 who were treated in the emergency department for concussion symptoms.
The study indicates that the effect of prior concussion is related to how close in time the two injuries occurred. Children who had a second concussion within a year had nearly three times the average duration of symptoms compared to children whose concussions occurred more than one year apart. The number of previous concussions also affected recovery time; two or more prior concussions resulted in a much longer duration of symptoms compared to those who experienced zero or one previous concussion. Other factors that predicted a longer recovery time included being age 13 or older, having more severe symptoms at the time of the ER visit, and having no loss of consciousness.
Study authors conclude that these findings have direct implications in managing and treating children and adolescents with concussions, especially those at high-risk for future concussions, such as student athletes.