Children who suffer a concussion from sports or other activities are no longer being sent home to rest it off. Instead, physicians are now urging parents and schools to get the kids back into normal activities as soon as possible, albeit with no risky physical activities of course.
The changes are based on new research showing not only that children fare better when they return to normal activities, but that too much rest can actually impair the healing progress.
According to the study, “an early return to school was associated with a lower symptom burden at 14 days post-injury in the 8- to 12-year age group and 13- to 18-year age group.” In other words, kids heal faster when they’re allowed to return to school and friends.
Christopher Vaughn, the neuropsychologist at Children’s National Hospital who led the study, said the goal now is to enable children to “maintain as much normalcy and routine as possible with academic and modifications when needed.”
Because statistics show that roughly 25% of the population at some point will suffer a concussion – the majority of them during childhood – researchers are keenly focused on reducing the impact of these injuries whenever possible.
Schools and parents alike are embracing the new protocols, which allow kids some light physical activity – primarily walking or perhaps a stationary bicycle or treadmill. The only restrictions are to avoid risks of physical contact with the head until symptoms of the concussion are entirely eradicated.