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Exercise following a sport induced concussion
  1. B Gall,
  2. W S Parkhouse,
  3. D Goodman
  1. Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr W S Parkhouse
 Simon Fraser University, School of Kinesiology, 888 8 University Blvd, Burnaby, BC V5A 1S6, Canada;


Objective: To determine if an athlete’s capacity to perform exercise is impaired following concussion and whether this would be reflected by an altered heart rate response.

Methods: Of the 14 concussed athletes, nine missed playing time as a direct result of their concussion and five did not. The concussed athletes performed an exercise protocol on a cycle ergometer within 72 hours of being asymptomatic at rest and a second test at 5 days following the previous assessment. Matched controls (n = 14) were tested using the same time line. The exercise protocol consisted of a 2 minute warm up, 10 minute, low−moderate intensity, steady state exercise session, and a high intensity interval protocol. The interval protocol consisted of a 40 second high intensity bout, followed by a 40 second rest period. This protocol continued until the participant had reached volitional fatigue.

Results: The number of exercise bouts completed was not significantly different from their matched controls. However, concussed athletes who missed playing time had a significantly higher heart rate during the steady state exercise session. During this same period, they also exhibited a greater rise in heart rate over time.

Conclusion: These findings indicate that exercise capacity is unaffected in concussed athletes who are asymptomatic at rest. However, their heart rate response to submaximal exercise is increased.

  • HR, heart rate
  • MT, missed time
  • NMT, no missed time
  • symptoms
  • autonomic nervous system
  • cardiovascular system
  • blood lactate
  • heart rate

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  • Conflict of interest: none declared