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Acute rest does not predict symptom recovery in collegiate student athletes
  1. Thomas A Buckley1,
  2. Barry A Munkasy2,
  3. Brandy P Clouse3,
  4. Kelsey M Evans4
  1. 1Department of Kinesiology and Applied Physiology, University of Delaware, Newark, DE, USA
  2. 2Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA, USA
  3. 3Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA, USA
  4. 4Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA, USA


Objective To assess the effect of acute cognitive and physical activity level and sleep on concussion recovery.

Design Prospective.

Setting: College sports medicine.

Participants: Forty-one college student athletes (51.2% Female; Age: 19.6 + 1.2 years) diagnosed with sports-related concussions.

Interventions The independent variables were the participant’s self-reported physical and cognitive activity levels (1–5 based on Majerske) and the number of hours slept the first two days post-concussion.

Outcome measures The dependent variables were the number of days until the participant 1) self-report asymptomatic and 2) had full return-to-participation which required achieving baseline values on balance, cognitive, neuropsychological testing and completing a progressive return to activity protocol. The independent variables (activity levels and sleep) were used as predictors of recovery with a linear regression.

Main results The participants were asymptomatic 4.7 + 2.8 (95% CI: 3.8–5.5) days and returned-to-participation 13.0 + 4.2 (95% CI: 11.8–14.3) days post-concussion. Participants reported a mean 7.8 + 1.9 hours of sleep per night and low physical (1.4 + 0.7) and cognitive (2.7 + 1.4) activity levels. There were no significant correlations and the overall model did not predict days until asymptomatic (F=1.224, P=0.315) or return-to-participation time (F=0.036, P=0.991). None of the independent variables were significant predictors.

Conclusions The activity levels and reported sleep in the first two days post-concussion did not predict recovery time. This finding is consistent with emerging literature suggesting acutely restricting activity may not improve concussion recovery time. Future studies should utilise sleep logs and objectively measure activity levels.

Competing interests None.

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