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Playing With Concussion: Longer Recovery, Poorer Mental Function

Teen athletes who remain in games or practices after they suffer a concussion take twice as long to recover and have worse short-mental function than those who are immediately benched, a new study finds.

The study included 69 American teens, average age 15, who suffered concussions while playing sports, including football, basketball, ice hockey and soccer. About half reported concussion symptoms immediately and were sidelined, while the other half delayed telling anyone about their symptoms and continued playing for an average of 19 minutes, according to the study in the journal Pediatrics.

Those who kept playing took an average of 44 days to recover from their concussion, compared with 22 days for those who stopped playing immediately. Those who continued playing also had worse scores on mental function tests at eight and 30 days after a concussion, the Associated Press reported.

Among U.S. high school students, concussions occur at a rate of nearly 3 per 10,000 games or practices, but research suggests up to 50 percent of concussions in teen sports aren’t reported, according to the AP.

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