Newswise — SAN DIEGO, CA – A new study on mild traumatic brain injury refutes previous notions that age and amnesia are the indicators of prolonged recovery time from sports-related concussion. William P. Meehan, III, MD, Director of the Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention, Director of the Sports Concussion Clinic, and Director of Research for the Brain Injury Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, presented his research on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine 22nd Annual Meeting in San Diego, Cal.

Funded by The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Meehan’s one-year study examined athletes from two concussion clinics who had suffered sports-related concussions. Possible predictors of prolonged recovery, including age, score on symptom inventories, number of prior concussions, composite scores on computerized neurocognitive tests, prior treatment for headaches, history of migraines, family history of concussions, loss of consciousness, and amnesia, were compared between two groups: those whose symptoms resolved within 28 days and those whose symptoms persisted beyond 28 days (defined as prolonged concussion symptoms).

The higher the athletes scored on the 22-item Post-Concussion Symptom Scale (PCSS), the higher their odds of suffering a prolonged recovery. Dr. Meehan said this means that athletes who suffer severe symptoms after a concussion should be prepared to experience a potentially prolonged recovery period. “Efforts to develop clinical prediction rules designed to identify athletes at risk for suffering prolonged symptoms should focus on the initial post-injury symptom burden,” said Dr. Meehan. Dr. Meehan graduated from Harvard Medical School where he is currently an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics. He is board certified in pediatrics, pediatric emergency medicine, and sports medicine. Dr. Meehan conducts both clinical and scientific research in the area of sports injuries and concussive brain injury. He is the Associate Director of the Harvard Integrated Program to Protect and Improve the Health of NFL Players and the 2012 winner of the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine’s award for Best Overall Research.

About the AMSSM: The AMSSM is a multi-disciplinary organization of sports medicine physicians whose members are dedicated to education, research, advocacy, and the care of athletes of all ages. Founded in 1991, the AMSSM comprises more than 2,300 sports medicine physicians whose goal is to provide a link between the rapidly expanding core of knowledge related to sports medicine and its application to patients in a clinical setting.