New study says youth football players more likely to return to field less than day after experiencing a concussion

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — “Sometimes I see youth players who went back into the game too soon, before they were recovered,” said John Leddy MD, University at Buffalo Concussion Management Clinic Medical Director.

According to a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics, younger footballs players are more likely to return to the field less than a day after suffering concussions than those in high school or college. Dr. Leddy says that could be due to a lower level of supervision at youth football and he says in some cases kids are not able to recognize concussion symptoms in first place.

“Because they’re young they might not be able to express their symptoms very accurately. I think they can tell you they have a headache or they feel dizzy but they may not understand things like I can’t concentrate well,” said Dr. Leddy.

The study found that fewer than 1 percent of high school players returned to play 24 hours after injury, compared with almost 5 percent of college players and 10 percent of youth players.

“There are some kids who may be predisposed to brain swelling if they don’t take care of a concussion properly and they get hit again before they’ve recovered,” said Dr. Leddy.

Dr. Leddy says subsequent injuries before the brain has healed from a concussion are ten times worse. And in the worst case scenario a player could suffer from second impact syndrome.

“In some kids who we think returned to play too soon before a concussion resolved, they can get severe swelling of the brain and this can lead to permanent problems or even death,” said Dr. Leddy.

The study also found differences in concussion symptoms depending on players ages. Of the age groups, youth players were the least likely to lose consciousness.

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