After a Concussion

Finding Support

If a concussion persists and your child’s schoolwork needs to be managed, here’s where to find support and how to keep everyone informed, says Neal McGrath, Ph.D., clinical director and founder of Sports Concussion New England:

The school nurse – Likely the only medical professional at the school, the nurse can monitor your child. He or she also understands how the inconsistent nature of symptoms can affect the child’s day, requiring short breaks or an excusal.

The guidance counselor – While you’ll oversee the recovery process, the guidance counselor can deal with academic issues, helping to coordinate your child’s teachers and ensure that they understand the situation.

E-mail – Make a group list with all the necessary players – nurse, counselor, teachers, coaches, trainer, etc. – and regularly hit “reply all” so that everyone is up-to-date on your child’s progress.

Controlling behavior

Along with physical activity, McGrath recommends limiting or avoiding these other activities during recovery from a concussion:

Texting – It’s constant, visual and can easily tax the brain. Try to cap it at 5-10 minutes a day. That may not be practical or doable, but aiming for a limit will rein it in.

Computer use – It’s not all off-limits, but anything involving a good deal of thinking and scanning requires too much mental output. Video games aren’t forbidden, but the visual element can be stressful, and the Wii, with a physical component, should be avoided.

Homework – Math, reading comprehension and languages are usually the hardest with their demands for calculations, retention and recall. But any class that particularly challenges a child can cause undo stress.

Resources - Concussion signs and symptoms, information for parents, coaches, schools, and concussion laws.

Sports Legacy Institute – Research, education and consulting on concussions, particularly degenerative brain disease caused by repetitive concussions.

Related: Concussion: A Game Changer