MONDAY, Sept. 20, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The COVID-19 pandemic was associated with a decreased incidence of sports-related concussions, but patients with concussion were more hesitant to seek in-person care, according to a study published online Sept. 14 in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

Anthony P. Kontos, Ph.D., from University of Pittsburgh, and colleagues examined the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients presenting with concussion at a specialty clinic. The analysis included a pandemic cohort (1,139 patients; March 2020 to February 2021) and a prepandemic cohort (1,882 patients; March 2019 to February 2020). Patient and concussion characteristics were pulled from electronic medical records.

The researchers found that there were 39.5 percent fewer concussions (743) during the pandemic. Patients presented 25.8 days later during the pandemic and were 1.9 years older versus patients prepandemic. During the pandemic, there was a 59.6 percent decrease in sports-related concussions. There were proportional increases observed during the pandemic for concussions involving recreational activities (odds ratio, 6.11), motor vehicle collisions (odds ratio, 1.39), and falls/assaults (odds ratio, 1.33). During the pandemic, 9.4 percent of initial clinical visits were performed using telehealth versus none prepandemic.

“Patients waited nearly a month, an average of 26 days, longer to seek care for their injuries during the COVID-19 pandemic than before, and our previous research indicates that waiting to seek care following a concussion results in longer recovery times resulting from delayed treatment,” Kontos said in a statement.

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