Break from the Classroom for a Concussion

Child concussions might require classroom and home adjustments during healing process

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Child athletes who get a concussion during play often have trouble focusing in the classroom. Bright lights and noise could add to the troubles for these kids.

Student athletes who get a concussion and are sidelined from the field might also need a break from the classroom as well, according to a recent report presented at a conference.

According to the authors of the report, students' recovery from concussions should be a team effort by medical professionals, family and teachers together.

"Work with your child's doctor and teachers after a concussion."

A report written by a team of researchers led by Mark Halstead, MD, FAAP, and the Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness and Council on School Health, aimed to provide a better understanding of the factors after a child gets a concussion that could be tied to difficulties in the classroom and school environment.

The report was also meant to serve as a guide to help students safely and successfully return to learning at home, school and the doctors’ office.

Based on previous research, the researchers said that it is common for children and teens to experience difficulties at school both cognitively (mental processing) and physically with exposure to bright lights and screens and noisy hallways and cafeterias.

The report stated that school-aged kids recover from a concussion within three weeks on average.

If symptoms are mild or tolerable, parents could consider having their child return to school.

The researchers said that some students with severe symptoms might need to stay home from school after a concussion.

Kids with severe or prolonged symptoms that last more than three weeks might need specific academic, social and classroom accommodations.

For example, the report states that once concussion symptoms improve, parents can allow their child to attend social gatherings, return to driving or watch a game.

In the classroom, teachers can require more work from a student who is better able to handle longer periods of mental exertion.

The report also states that students should be performing at their normal academic level, or “baseline” before returning to full physical activity or other extracurricular activities after a concussion.

According to Dr. Halstead, managing a student’s return to the classroom will require an individualized approach since each concussion is unique and symptoms can vary.

“The goal is to minimize disruptions to the student’s life and return the student to school as soon as possible, and as symptoms improve, to increase the student’s social, mental and physical activities,” Dr. Halstead said in a press release. 

The report was presented October 27 in Orlando at the National Conference & Exhibition of the American Academy of Pediatrics. No conflicts of interest were declared in the making of the report.

Review Date: 
October 28, 2013
Last Updated:
October 29, 2013