Physical activity and recovery following concussion in collegiate athletes: a LIMBIC MATARS Consortium Investigation

Thomas G. Bowman, Monica R. Lininger, Jessie R. Oldham, Racheal M. Smetana, Patricia M. Kelshaw, Erica Beidler, Thomas R. Campbell, Samuel R. Walton, Thayne A. Munce, Michael J. Larson, Nyaz Didehbani, C. Munro Cullum, Daniel J. Rosenblum, David X. Cifu, Jacob E. Resch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To investigate whether routine daily activities (RDA), non-prescribed exercise (Non-ERx), or prescribed exercise (ERx) were associated with recovery from sport-related concussion (SRC) in collegiate athletes. Materials and Methods: Data for this cross-sectional, retrospective chart review of collegiate athletes diagnosed with SRC (n = 285[39.6% female], age = 19.5 ± 1.4 years) were collected during the 2015–16 to 2019–20 athletic seasons. The independent variable was group (RDA, Non-ERx, ERx). Dependent variables included days from date of diagnosis to symptom resolution (Dx-SR) and SR to return to sport (SR-RTS). Results: Those in the Non-ERx group took nearly 1.3 times longer to achieve SR (IRR = 1.28, 95% CI: 1.11, 1.46) and, 1.8 times longer for RTS (IRR = 1.82, 95% CI: 1.11, 2.71) when compared to those in the RDA group. No other comparisons were significant. Conclusion: Collegiate athletes in the Non-ERx group took approximately 1 week longer to achieve SR as compared to the RDA and ERx groups. Our findings suggest that if exercise is recommended following SRC, it must be clearly and specifically prescribed. If exercise parameters cannot be prescribed, or monitored, RDA appear to be similarly beneficial during recovery for collegiate athletes with concussion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalBrain Injury
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI)
  • exercise
  • exercise prescription
  • head injury
  • rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology


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