Kids With Concussions Should Take a Timeout From School

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There’s a push to help kids who get a concussion during a game to sit out, but the latest research says these kids need to be cautious about returning to the classroom as well.

Although children may appear to be physically normal after having a concussion, they may actually have trouble learning new information and retaining it. Going back to school may exacerbate these symptoms, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in a new clinical report presented at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition in Orlando.

Research shows that it takes about three weeks for a child to fully recover from a concussion. If their symptoms are especially severe, they should stay home from school. Even though kids with concussions may appear asymptomatic, they often report difficulty focusing on schoolwork and taking tests, especially in math, science, and foreign-languages. Medical experts are worried that too much learning stimulation can overwhelm a brain that is still recovering, and make it even more difficult for a child to get back on track. If systems are mild, parents can consider sending their kids back to class, but should inform teachers about the concussion so adjustments can be made to the pace of the class if needed. The researchers call this necessary step, “cognitive rest.”
And even after a child is reintegrated into school, the researchers say they should be allowed adequate time to make up missed assignments, and the overall volume of the make-up work should be tailored so as not to overwhelm them and harm their learning.
“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,” said lead study author Dr. Mark Halstead in a statement.

There’s still not much research on the effects of concussions on learning, so the AAP based its recommendation on expert opinion and data emerging from the concussion management program at the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Center for Concussion in Denver, Colorado.

The researchers say more research on the long-term effects of concussions are needed, especially about how they might impact children in the classroom, to better inform guidelines for parents, coaches and teachers.

5 comments
EmilyVA
EmilyVA

I got my 4th concussion after getting hit in the head with a soccer ball in January about 5 years ago and for the remainder of the school year my short term memory was very bad. I couldn't remember that I'd been to school the day before, or what I'd done during that day at all. With my first concussion, which was a serious skiing accident, I was ordered to stay home for a week. I think it's very important not to over stimulate the kids right after a concussion, neither with sports nor academics. 

Mariah76857
Mariah76857

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MadhuBordiaNahta
MadhuBordiaNahta

If "systems" are mild, parents can consider sending their kids back to class, but should inform teachers about the concussion so adjustments can be made to the pace of the class if needed.

should be symptoms: pls proof read again.

b_eaganbrown
b_eaganbrown

Bravo for another pending journal article focusing on the STUDENT first.  Students should experience no concussion symptoms in school BEFORE ever beginning the return to sports progression. Communication is KEY between the multidisciplinary team.  We can't forget about the students who get concussions who are NONathletes, also.  So glad more and more attention is being focused on concussion and return to learn.  Look for more info on this coming out this year!

KarenCarter
KarenCarter

Good article. I have noticed cognitive issues after students get a concussion. I take issue with the statement, "And even after a child is reintegrated into school, the researchers say they should be allowed adequate time to make up missed assignments, and the overall volume of the make-up work should be tailored so as not to overwhelm them and harm their learning". 'Harm their learning'? The statement should read, "... and the overall volume of the make-up work should be tailored so as not to overwhelm a student as he recovers from a concussion."