Objective Estimate the influence of time to initiation of active rehabilitation on post-concussion symptom (PCS) severity in youth who are slow to recover from concussion.
Design Retrospective analysis of a prospective cohort
Setting Concussion clinic of a tertiary care Paediatric Trauma Centre in Canada.
Participants 569 youth (14.3±2.3 years) with persistent PCS. Clinic patients’ information is entered prospectively in a clinical database and participants were selected for this study if they 1) participated in the active rehabilitation program, and 2) had available PCS assessments at the intake and follow-up visits.
Intervention Active rehabilitation consisting of: aerobic exercise, coordination exercises and, education/motivation. The intervention was initiated with a Physical Therapist in the Concussion clinic continued as a daily home program. The independent variable was time to initiation of the active rehabilitation program measured in weeks (2, 3, 4, 5, 6+).
Outcome measure Symptom severity measured by the PCS scale of the SCAT3 at follow-up visit, 2 weeks after initiation of intervention.Main results: Patients initiating active rehabilitation 2 weeks post-injury were significantly less symptomatic at follow-up (Mdn PCS score=5) compared to those starting five (Mdn=17) and six weeks or more (Mdn=17.5) (p=0.0002). Those starting at 3 (Mdn=9) and 4 (Mdn=10) weeks also had significantly less severe symptoms compared to those starting 6 weeks or later (p<0.05).
Conclusions The findings suggest that children benefit more from active rehabilitation if it is initiated between two and four weeks post-injury, and have poorer outcomes if it is delayed beyond 6 weeks post-injury.
Competing interests None.
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