Student athletes need time away from sports and academics after concussions

October 29, 2013


Student athletes need time away from sports and academics after concussions

Concussions and similar traumatic brain injuries are known as one of the most common injury types to befall student athletes. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention make this clear - the federal agency states that emergency rooms in U.S. hospitals admit and treat just over 173,000 children and adolescents for sports-related concussions on an annual basis. Sound athletic injury prevention practices naturally dictate that these young concussion and TBI patients be kept from play while they recover, but a new report has revealed that it may also be wise to limit their schoolwork during this time.

Oct. 27 marked the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition, and the organization used the opportunity to debut a new report on this matter. The research pointed out that in some cases, the symptoms of a patient with a serious concussion would make it wise for him or her to be kept out of school for some time. The typical period for full recovery from a concussion is three weeks, and while the patient might not need to kept home for that entire time, the possibilities that can result from prematurely returning him or her to studies can be serious.

Mark Halstead, M.D., the study's lead author, elaborated on this at the conference.

"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," Halstead said. "But we know that children who've had a concussion may have trouble learning new material and remembering what they've learned, and returning to academics may worsen concussion symptoms."

Halstead recommended that those charged with the care of students with concussions make a checklist of the symptoms involved, determine their severity and assess how they would be likely to affect these young athletes' academic progress. 

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