Whether your child plays soccer or football, does cheerleading, or runs track, the potential for a concussion is out there all season long. If your child does suffer from a concussion you'll need to know how to care for her, and also how to answer her inevitable question ... "When can I get back in the game?"
The bottom line is that kids will need several months to recover and get back to their sport after a concussion. But there are ways that you can help your child to maximize his recovery and minimize his time off the field.
According to a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics, kids need at least three to five days of complete mental rest in order to recover from a concussion. And those kids who got that kind of mental downtime recovered that much faster from their injury.
For the study, researchers looked at 335 children and young adults ages 8 to 23 who suffered from concussions. They found that kids who immediately re-engaged in thinking-intensive activities — such as doing homework, playing video games, reading or texting — took the longest to fully recover from their symptoms, with an average of about 100 days. Whereas the kids who took a mental break immediately after their injury recovered within 20 to 50 days.
So the best way to help kids recover — and minimize their time on the bench — is to help them keep their minds in low-gear for the first few days after a concussion. That means no texting, no reading, no schoolwork, and no thinking. If they can manage that for a couple of days, the chances are they will be back in the field in a few weeks rather than a few months.
Researchers recommend that parents reintroduce "thinking" activities slowly after the mental break and pull back if concussion symptoms — headache, fatigue, or confusion — start to reappear.
Once kids are free of all concussion symptoms, are able to handle mental activities again, AND they have received an all-clear from their doctor, they need to practice a slow and steady return to sports. And how long that takes is directly related to how well they manage their post-concussion care.
Related posts on MNN:
- NFL gives $30 million for concussion research
- Girls keep playing soccer despite concussion, study finds
- Concussions keeping hockey players off ice for longer
The opinions expressed by MNN Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of MNN.com. While we have reviewed their content to make sure it complies with our Terms and Conditions, MNN is not responsible for the accuracy of any of their information.