STOCKHOLM, May 21 (Xinhua) -- A new study conducted by University of Gothenburg in Sweden shows that recovery from sports-related concussion takes longer time than previously believed, according to a statement published on Wednesday by the university.
"It has previously been believed that concussion heals in 7-10 days, and the Swedish Boxing Federation has decided the rest period to be of one month after a concussion, in order to be on the safe side," Sanna Neselius, researcher in the study, was quoted as saying in the statement.
"But our studies show that a concussion, such as may be experienced after being knocked out, can take more than four months to heal," said Neselius.
Neselius is a former boxer and member of the medical commission of the Swedish Boxing Federation, and her previous studies have shown that amateur boxing causes damage to nerve cells, that can take more than two weeks to heal.
In the new study, Neselius analyzed cerebrospinal fluid after concussion and the analysis can be used to determine the magnitude of brain injury and to follow its course.
"The first sample is recommended to be taken 10-14 days after the concussion. This allows us to see the magnitude of the injury, and gives an idea of how long the healing process will be," according to the researcher.
Further, the results also show that repetitive head trauma in boxing, damages nerve cells in the brain, even though the boxer may not show any concussion symptoms.
"The assessment today is often based on physical symptoms, neuropsychological tests, and the neurological examination of the athlete," said Neselius.
"Our studies show that these tests are not sensitive enough, nor can we rely on the athletes self-reported lack of symptoms. Concussion symptoms usually pass after a few days, but the neurological damage may still be present," she added.
Concussion is one of the most common sports-related injuries, and more athletes experience it every year. In recent years, focus has been directed on the effects of repeated concussions, in which athletes in such sports as ice hockey may be affected by long-term effects.
"I hope that brain injury markers in the cerebrospinal fluid, and hopefully also later in blood, can be used at all levels in all sports. By this we can use individual measurements to plan and guarantee safe rehabilitation," said Neselius.