UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Orthopedics

Title: Concussion question parents will ask you

Keywords: Concussion, return to play, school, head injury (PubMed Search)

Posted: 10/13/2018 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 11/28/2020)
Click here to contact Brian Corwell, MD

You have successfully diagnosed a concussion, explained everything to the parents, closed the encounter, reached for the doorknob and….

“What about school?”

 

An athlete should not return to play until they have successfully returned to school

Several studies have demonstrated that intense cognitive stimulation and intense intellectual stimulation result in worsening symptoms

                -school work, TV, videogames, texting

Attempt to limit cognitive activity to the point where it begins to reproduce or worsen symptoms!

Step 1: 24 to 48 hours of rest

Step 2: Daily at home activities that do not increase symptoms. Starting with 5 – 10 minutes and gradually build up to a goal of tolerating 30 minutes of cognitive activity without worsening symptoms.

                Home work, reading assignments, other cognitive activities

Step 3: Attempt Return to school (will not be completely symptoms free!) with either part time, partial days, or with extended breaks. Goal of tolerating an entire school day without symptoms.

Most students recover fully within 4 weeks and adjustments can then be discontinued. Others with ongoing symptoms may require ongoing academic modifications (extra time for tests, papers, etc).

Suggested examples of adjustments:  Shortened days, 15 minute break for every 30 minutes of instruction, providing class notes, tutoring, decreasing course expectations, decreasing exposure to classes which exacerbate symptoms, no computer work, untimed tests and quizzes, lunch in a quiet place.

 

References

Bass & Valasek Auguest 2018 Contemporary Pediatrics