FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) -- Research done by a professor at the University of Arkansas and researchers at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania is the first to look at the danger of continuing to play a sport after suffering a concussion.
R.J. Elbin looked at high school athletes and their experiences with concussions. The researchers compared players who continued to play following the injury and those who did not.
"We followed them throughout their recovery time and compared recovery times between the two groups," Elbin said.
The study found athletes who quit playing after their injury took about 22 days to recover.
"Athletes that admittedly said they continued to play with their concussion took twice as long to get better," Elbin said.
Elbin said the research proves athletes should be sitting out practices and games if they end up with a concussion.
"Removal from play status was associated with a eight-times greater risk of demonstrating an abnormal recovery," Elbin said.
The research also showed concussion symptoms could be more severe if they are not treated properly.
"Athletes who stayed in the game and played through their concussion had marked decreases in cognitive performance, measures of memory, reaction time, and also symptom reports," Elbin said.
Elbin said he wants student athletes and parents of student athletes to know of the risk of continuing to play after suffering a concussion.
"I think it is really important to take care of your brain and get out of the game," he said. "It is better to miss one game than the rest of the season."
The study was published Monday (Aug. 29) in the journal "Pediatrics" used by the American Academy of Pediatrics.