Student athletes take longer to recover from concussions if they continue to play right away

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Coaches, doctors, players and parents could improve high school athletes’ recovery times if they followed medical guidelines more strictly, according to a new study in the journal Pediatrics. That’s because student athletes who re-entered game play right after a concussion had doubled recovery times than kids who sat out right away, which is what current medical guidelines recommend.

Athletes who were removed from the game right after a potential concussion recovered in an average of 22 days, while athletes who continued to play took an average of 44 days to recover.

According to the New York Times, the article could help challenge the idea of “playing through pain.”

“Kids are often reluctant to acknowledge a concussion,” said Dawon Dicks, a youth football coach with CoachUp in Andover, Massachusetts, in the Times article. “The kid may want a scholarship and want to go to college, or it could be that ‘Dad or Coach wants me to play.’ That’s when they’re going to start to be a little dishonest in what they’re truly feeling.”

In the long run, sitting out faster might mean more time to play, not less. That’s because the athletes will be back on the field more quickly after a full recovery than if they jump right back into playing after a concussion.

Check out the full article to see how this study and its recommendations could impact youth sports culture.