College students, on average, take longer to recover from concussions than the average American, a new study says.
Concussion victims in the United States take about of 7 to 14 days to recover, but in study of 128 Northwestern University students during the 2014-2015 academic year, the undergrad participants took an average of 16 days to recover, while graduate students took a full 31 days.
Most of the participants were athletes, and higher levels of competition saw shorter recovery times (23 days for recreational athletes, 19 for club athletes, and 11-12 for varsity athletes). Since the higher-level teams have easier access to medical attention, it makes sense that their concussions would be diagnosed, treated, and recovered from more quickly.
More than ten extra days of recovery is nothing to scoff at, and the numbers are certainly telling. It’s not new news, but it bears repeating: Access to quick medical care is essential when dealing with concussions.
College students taking longer than the general population to recover makes sense too. Concussions require rest from both physical and mental strain, and higher education is demanding in both respects, especially for athletes. But we should not accept such a dramatic difference in recovery times simply because it’s more difficult for college students to take a break from their responsibilities. Instead, universities should work harder to protect concussion victims with policies to allow them proper rest, and in turn students will be able to return to their studies more quickly, healthier in both the short-term and the long-term.
*Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.