Early Targeted Heart Rate Exercise vs Placebo Stretching for Sport-Related Concussion in Adolescents

A recent study featuring PISC Executive Committee Member Douglas Wiebe, PhD, and Senior Scholar Kristy Arbogast, PhD, evaluates the safety, efficacy, and generalizability of targeted aerobic exercise during sports-related concussion recovery. Participants included 118 female and male adolescents between the ages of 13 and 18 years old, all of whom presented within 10 days of a sports-related concussion. During their recovery, athletes were randomly assigned threshold aerobic activity or stretching exercises of up to 20 minutes daily. Results indicated that participants who completed 20 minutes of monitored aerobic activity daily were more likely to recover within 4 weeks. Moreover, these athletes had a 48% reduced risk of persistent post-concussive symptoms. The team concludes, “physicians should not only permit, but consider, prescribing early subsymptom threshold physical activity to adolescents as treatment for sports-related concussion.”

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