It could take up to 2 years for young athletes to recover fully from a concussion and return to play as skillfully as those with no history of concussion.

In addition, according to a media release from York University, young athletes between the ages of 8 and 16 are not only vulnerable to concussions, but because their brain is still developing, they are neurologically more fragile than adults for performing tasks that require cognitive motor integration following a concussion.

In a study published recently in Concussion, Professor Lauren Sergio, from York University’s Faculty of Health, and colleagues studied the prolonged difficulty in cognitive-motor integration in 50 children and adolescents with a history of concussion. Their performance was compared with 49 who have never had a concussion.

During the study, the researchers asked participants in both groups to perform two different tasks on a dual-touchscreen laptop. In one task, target location and motor action were aligned. In the other task that tested cognitive-motor integration, the required movement was not aligned with the guiding visual target and required simultaneous thinking for successful performance, per the release.

“We noticed significant difficulty in completing the tasks among those with concussion history,” says Marc Dalecki, postdoctoral candidate and the study’s lead author, in the release. “In fact, it took many of the children two years after the concussion to have a similar performance on the task as children who did not have a history of concussion.

Sergio notes in the release that performing motor tasks is crucial in skill-based activities such as sports, but the current return to sport assessment doesn’t test to see if the injured person has regained this ability.

“Because of this, often children and youth who have had a concussion end up returning to normal activities before they are fully recovered,” Sergio continues. “We believe this makes them more vulnerable to another concussion.”

[Source(s): York University, Science Daily]