Recovery from sports-related injury is an issue made complex by the pressure to return the patient to their game. However, we now know that injured brains have a vulnerable window of time in which they can be more susceptible to recurring injury.
Traditional tests of recovery include the subsiding of symptoms and improved performance in neurocognitive assessment. However, a recent study using qualitative electroencephalography (QEEG) has shown that signs of physiological damage may persist even after symptoms subside and cognitive impairments have improved.
The implication of this study is that patients with sport-related brain injuries may be returning to their sport too soon. Considering the window of vulnerability the brain has to recurrent damage, the QEEG-which is a portable, easy-to-use device-can be used as a more reliable marker of recovery.
McCrea M, Prichep L, Powell MR, et al. Acute effects and recovery after sports-related concussion: A neurocognitive and quantitative brain electrical activity study. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation. (July 2010).