THURSDAY, Feb. 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- For adolescent athletes, subsymptom threshold aerobic exercise prescribed during the first week after sport-related concussion (SRC) speeds recovery, according to a study published online Feb. 4 in JAMA Pediatrics.
John J. Leddy, M.D., from the State University of New York at Buffalo, and colleagues randomly assigned 103 adolescent athletes presenting within 10 days of SRC to aerobic exercise or placebo-like stretching regimen. Both forms of exercise were performed for about 20 minutes per day.
Participants in the aerobic exercise group and those in the stretching group were seen a mean of 4.9 and 4.8 days after the SRC, respectively. The researchers found that aerobic exercise participants and stretching participants recovered in a median of 13 and 17 days, respectively (P = 0.009 by Mann-Whitney test). A nonsignificantly lower incidence of delayed recovery was seen in the aerobic exercise group versus the placebo group (4 versus 14 percent; P = 0.08).
"The data provide preliminary evidence that a primary benefit of early subthreshold exercise treatment is a reduced incidence of delayed recovery (>30 days), which is potentially a very important result," the authors write. "Larger prospective studies should investigate mechanisms of action of aerobic exercise on the concussed brain and determine if prescribed early subthreshold exercise prevents some patients from having delayed recovery after concussion."