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Concussion management – Give the brain more time to heal before getting back to academics

concussionA new clinical report by The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that student Athletes who have suffered a concussion need more time to heal before returning to academics.

The report released this Sunday 27th of October at the AAP National Conference and Exhibition in Orlando, FL was titled  “Returning to learning following a concussion”.  It focused on the process of recovery and some guidelines for student-athletes encountering concussions, about their transition from the trauma, back to school. The 0riginal article can be found here.

“Students appear physically normal after a concussion, so it may be difficult for teachers and administrators to understand the extent of the child’s injuries and recognize the potential need for academic adjustments” lead author of the report Dr. Mark E Halstead, Assistant professor in pediatric sports medicine at the Washington University, said in a statement. “But we know that children who had a concussion may have trouble remembering what they’ve learned, and returning to academics may worsen concussion symptoms”.

“Every concussion is unique and symptoms will vary from student to student, so managing a student’s return to the classroom will require an individualized approach” Halstead said.

Concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head or a fall that jolts the head and brain.  Some symptoms of concussion are headache, nausea, blurry vision, sensitivity to light/noise, concentration or memory problems.

Research indicates that a student sustaining a concussion will usually recover within 3 weeks or more depending on its severity, during which period, the student needs to take leave from school and stay at home. Post-concussion, if forced to make a hasty return to school it may delay or even aggravate the recovery process.  The Academy highly recommended cognitive rest as the best source for a gradual recovery.

The AAP report also recommended a collaborative team approach among pediatricians, family members, school’s academic and physical activity representatives for easing back a concussed student-athlete to their normal academics and athletics.

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