Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2023 Aug 16:1-8. doi: 10.1123/pes.2023-0016. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: Concussion management is shifting away from a rest-is-best approach, as data now suggest that exercise-is-medicine for this mild brain injury. Despite this, we have limited data on habitual physical activity following concussion. Therefore, our objective was to quantify accelerometer-measured physical activity and sedentary time in children with concussion (within the first month of injury) and healthy controls. We hypothesized that children with concussion would be less active than their healthy peers.
METHODS: We performed a secondary analysis of prospectively collected accelerometer data. Our sample included children with concussion (n = 60, 31 females) and historical controls (n = 60) matched for age, sex, and season of accelerometer wear.
RESULTS: Children with concussion were significantly more sedentary than controls (mean difference [MD], 38.3 min/d, P = .006), and spent less time performing light physical activity (MD, -19.5 min/d, P = .008), moderate physical activity (MD, -9.8 min/d, P < .001), and vigorous physical activity (MD, -12.0 min/d, P < .001); these differences were observed from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Sex-specific analyses identified that girls with concussion were less active and more sedentary than both boys with concussion (P = .010) and healthy girls (P < .010).
CONCLUSION: There is an activity deficit observed within the first month of pediatric concussion. Physical activity guidelines should address this while considering sex effects.