Kids' concussion recovery like snakes and ladders game

March 11, 2019

Hamilton, ON (March 11, 2019) - New guidelines that reduce the amount of rest required for children recovering from a concussion have been developed by CanChild, a McMaster University research institute.

"For children, recovering from a concussion is like a snakes and ladders game, as there are times where they may have rapid improvement and climb through the steps more quickly, and other times where returning symptoms mean they have to take a slide back," said author Carol DeMatteo, professor of rehabilitation science and a CanChild researcher.

"Our new research, along with our review of studies from all over the world, has led us to update the guidelines for recovery, and we have different but compatible guidelines for returning to school and for returning to activity including sport.

"Families have always felt the recovery instructions were too restrictive and difficult to follow. We now know that too much rest after concussion is not a good thing, and children can begin some activity sooner as long as they don't overdo it and make their symptoms worse."

She said the updates suggest that during the first 24 hours, home and leisure activities may be undertaken as long as they are only for five minutes at a time, and stopped if symptoms increase.

The guidelines give pathways for three categories of concussions: For those who are symptom free within 48 hours of the injury, those who are symptom free or much decreased within one to four weeks, and those who have the symptoms for more than four weeks.

DeMatteo said the recovery has been broken into stages, and each stage outlines the goal, activities allowed and what to look for before moving to the next stage. For example, at stage two in getting back to school, children are allowed to walk, have 15 minutes of screen time or school work twice a day, and socialize with one or two friends for no more than 30 minutes.

DeMatteo said the most important thing to remember is that every child is different and will progress at their own pace based on the severity of their symptoms.

"In addition, we've shown, based on our research, the average time to move through each stage towards return to school and return to full activity or sport," said DeMatteo. The return can take from 48 hours to six weeks or longer.

DeMatteo said that among children in Canada, the average age for a sport-related concussion is 13.5 years old, and that in Hamilton and Canada, the most common sports resulting in concussive injuries for boys is hockey, and for girls is soccer.

The guidelines may be found at https://www.canchild.ca/en/diagnoses/brain-injury-concussion/brain-injury-resources

The research behind the revised guidelines was funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.
-end-
Editors: Photo cutline: Research coordinator Sarah Randall (Occupational Therapy) assesses a child for full return to school and return to activity/sport, which requires an individualized approach including length of recovery time (March 2019).

McMaster University

Related Concussion Articles from Brightsurf:

Diagnosing sports-related concussion in teens
Researchers investigated the effectiveness of using measurements of how pupils react to light as physiologic biomarker to help diagnose sports-related concussion in adolescents.

Should you really be behind the wheel after concussion?
Even after all of their symptoms are gone, people who have had a concussion take longer to regain complex reaction times, the kind you need in most real-life driving situations on the road, according to a preliminary study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology's Sports Concussion Virtual Conference from July 31 to August 1, 2020.

Biomarkers may help us understand recovery time after concussion
A blood test may help researchers understand which people may take years to recover from concussion, according to a study published in the May 27, 2020, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Concussion alters how information is transmitted within the brain
Damage from concussion alters the way information is transmitted between the 2 halves of the brain, according to a new study.

Concussion recovery not clear cut for children
Sleep problems, fatigue and attention difficulties in the weeks after a child's concussion injury could be a sign of reduced brain function and decreased grey matter.

A concussion can cost your job -- especially if you are young and well educated
A seemingly harmless concussion can cause the loss of a job -- especially for patients who are in their thirties and for those with a higher education.

After concussion, biomarkers in the blood may help predict recovery time
A study of high school and college football players suggests that biomarkers in the blood may have potential use in identifying which players are more likely to need a longer recovery time after concussion, according to a study published in the July 3, 2019, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Concussion is a leading cause of injury for children in recreational sports
In a two-year study of children between ages 5-11 who play recreational sports, more suffered concussions than most any other sports-related injury.

Concussion symptoms reversed by magnetic therapy
Concussion symptoms -- such as loss of balance and ability to walk straight -- can be reversed by a new type of magnetic stimulation

Study paves way for better treatment of lingering concussion symptoms
The results of the study, released in Neuroscience journal, show that significant levels of fatigue and poorer brain function can persist for months, or even years, following concussion.

Read More: Concussion News and Concussion Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.