Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jingzhen (Ginger) YANG

The Role of Physical Activity in Recovery from Sports-related Concussion in Youth

Sports-related concussions are an important and rapidly increasing health problem in children and adolescents, accounting for more than 95% of all traumatic brain injury cases. Compared with adults, children and adolescents are at higher risk of concussion and take longer to recover. In fact, up to 30% of concussed children suffer from persistent post-concussion symptoms (PPCS) or other functional impairments, resulting in missed school days and social activities, depressed mood, and lower quality of life. To prevent the risk of PPCS and other long-term consequences, recently updated guidelines recommend reintroducing gradual, cognitive and physical activities into the child’s routine following 24–48 hours of rest post-injury. Emerging evidence has also showed that individualized, progressive, subsymptom threshold aerobic exercise prescribed within one week of concussion safely improved recovery from sports-related concussions in adolescents with concussion symptoms compared to a placebo-like stretching intervention group and relative rest group. Several recent studies also support that a gradual resumption of activities in the initial days after injury. However, additional evidence is urgently needed to guide healthcare professionals on how and when to best reintroduce physical activity to promote recovery and reduce the burden of PPCS for children and families. This presentation will describe physical activity patterns following sports-related concussions in youth ages 11-17. Youth ages 11-17 with a physician-confirmed, sport-related concussion are enrolled within 72 hours of injury. Physical activity of concussed youth is monitored 24 hours per day for a 7-day period using an ActiGraph (with an accompanied heart rate sensor). Physical activity is also monitored by a daily survey completed by concussed youth from injury to symptom resolution. The results on duration, intensity and type of physical activity post-concussion are reported, as well as how these physical activities are related to post-concussion symptoms and concussion recovery among concussed youth. This study provides empirical data on the relationships of level of physical activity and post-concussion symptoms. These findings could have a significant impact on clinical practice by shaping standards of care and informing treatment decisions about optimal rest/activity for sports-related concussions among youth. 

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jingzhen (Ginger) YANG, PhD, MPH


Pediatrics and Epidemiology
Nationwide Children’s Hospital
The Ohio State University




Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jingzhen Yang is an experienced injury researcher and behavioral scientist with a sustained, eminent record of achievement both nationally and internationally. Dr. Yang’s primary research interest is injury prevention with an emphasis on injuries to children and adolescents. The majority of her current research focuses on the trajectory of recovery from sports-related mild traumatic brain injuries among children. Over the course of her academic career, she has been the PI or a Co-investigator on 33 grants and contracts, the majority of which were/are funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She is also the lead author or a co-author of over 140 peer-reviewed published academic journal articles, one edited book, and five book chapters. She was appointed to serve on the Major League Baseball Medical Assessment and Research Advisory Committee (2010-2014). She served on the Executive Committee of the Society for Advancement of Violence and Injury Research (2014-2019), and chaired The Data Collection Working Group within the Big Ten-Ivy League Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Research Collaboration (2014-2019). In 2013, she received the “Excellence in Science Award” from the American Public Health Association, Injury Control and Emergency Health Services section.