WEDNESDAY, April 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Youth with a concussion history and greater sport experience may have more skill-related motor “reserve” to lessen the impact of concussions, according to a study published online March 17 in the European Journal of Sport Science.

Marc Dalecki, Ph.D., from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, and colleagues examined factors that may influence skilled performance recovery (defined as matching the skill level of peers with no concussion history) postconcussion among 64 asymptomatic youth (median, 13 years) soccer, hockey, and lacrosse players with a concussion history (median, 14 months postconcussion) who returned to play and 62 age-matched team members with no previous concussion. Participants performed two touchscreen-based eye-hand coordination tasks, including a direct interaction and a cognitive-motor integration (CMI) task.

The researchers found that individuals with concussion history and higher amounts of sport experience (seven to 12 years) reached a performance level matching their no-history peers quicker (after 12 months) than those with concussion history and lower sport experience (one to six years; recovery after 30 months). Findings were independent of the number of concussions, age, and sex. These findings may indicate an important role of eye-limb coordination-related sport experience in functional CMI recovery postconcussion.

“Youth with a concussion history but greater sport experience may have more skill-related motor ‘reserve,'” the authors write. “This reserve may directly aid in behavioral recovery postconcussion, or the greater neurological efficiency associated with athletic experience provides a compensatory mechanism that provides faster functional recovery.”

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