After a concussion, there is no circumstance when somebody should return to an activity where suffering a new concussion is a significant risk. Although walking around the block can result in a fall and a concussion, there is not a high likelihood of that happening. In contrast, playing soccer, even in the park, is a much more significant risk and should be avoided while the student is still experiencing symptoms. Other things like riding a bike or skateboard or climbing trees are also activities to be avoided while still recovering. After seeing a healthcare professional additional care is rarely needed. However, if concussion symptoms do not begin to subside after 2-3 weeks, or they seem to worsen, then additional care should be considered. In most cases this involves education, monitoring and additional treatment.
Important Take-Away Points
- After sustaining a concussion it is very important to avoid any activity that places the student at risk of sustaining another concussion.
- The majority of concussions will resolve without requiring additional treatment beyond cognitive and physical rest.
- Some concussions may need additional treatment. Specialists can address specific symptoms and needs.
- 2-3 weeks is a good time frame to seek additional follow-up care if symptoms have not resolved. Your Primary Care Provider can provide direction on the most appropriate specialists to address your student’s needs.
- In a small percentage of students symptoms may persist beyond the usual 2-3 week period of recovery. In these cases a specialist should consider a diagnosis of post-concussion syndrome (PCS).
It is important that follow-up care be provided by healthcare professionals that have concussion training. If symptoms from concussion are not resolving after two or three weeks then a physician should consider identifying specialists to support ongoing recovery. Your primary care provider can direct you to the most appropriate specialist to address your needs.
Allied health professionals are also available to support recovery after concussion. These professionals include occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech and language pathologists, psychologists, and social workers. Allied health professions are selected by a physician based on their skills to address specific symptoms and problems. Each one needs to be trained to treat the symptoms of concussion. Additionally, there are a number of specialists who address a variety of specific symptoms that may be related to the concussion.