The concussed individual should not participate in any sports, PE, recess, or other physical activities that increase normal heart rate. Limit activities that require lengthy mental activity or concentration (such as homework, jobs and video games), as this can make the symptoms worse. Get good sleep, and take naps if tired or drowsy.
Ensure that the concussed individual is evaluated right away by an appropriate healthcare professional. Do not try to judge the severity of the injury yourself. The experts at PT Solutions have a number of methods that they can use to assess the severity of concussions and to develop an appropriate care plan. For children and adolescents, PT solutions’ experts will work with your child’s teachers, coaches and other health care providers to return your child to the classroom and playing field as quickly and safely as possible. We at PT Solutions advise that you inform your school’s teachers, administrators, and counselors about your child’s injury and symptoms. Students who experience concussion symptoms often need extra help completing schoolwork and may not perform their best on tests. Rest breaks during the school day are also helpful. As symptoms decrease during recovery, extra supports can be removed slowly. PT Solutions’ Concussion Center staff will work with your child’s school to manage the workload and schedule as your child recovers.
Be patient! It is normal for an athlete to feel frustrated, sad and even angry when they can’t return to physical activity right away. With any injury, a full recovery will lower the chances of getting hurt again. It is better to miss one or two games than the whole season. Careful post-injury management will ensure the quickest and safest return to sports, and to the classroom.
Allow the athlete to return to play only with permission from a healthcare professional who has experience in evaluating concussions. Recovery times vary between individuals. You should be wary when permission to return to play is based on the amount of time spent “resting,” rather than measures of current symptoms and the athlete’s neurocognitive status. A repeat concussion, also known as, Second Impact Syndrome, occurs before the brain recovers from the first initial concussion. This can significantly slow recovery and increase the likelihood of having long-term problems. This can all be prevented by seeking appropriate medical attention and a medical evaluation prior to returning to play.
Be sure that the athlete follows a gradual return-to-play protocol under the supervision of a healthcare provider with expertise in concussion management. Once the athlete becomes asymptomatic, the physician many instruct the athlete to begin a 5-step return to play protocol, typically administrated by an Athletic Trainer.
5-Step Graduated Exertional Return to Play Protocol
- Step 1– Light aerobic exercise to increase heart rate. Total time: 10 minutes of exercise. Examples: stationary bike, walking, light jogging. No weightlifting.
- Step 2– Moderate exercise to increase heart rate and have limited head/neck movement. Total time: 15-30 minutes of exercise. Examples: Moderate jogging, bodyweight circuit (no equipment), squats, push-ups, sit-ups.
- Step 3– Non-contact exercise, similar routine/sport. Total time: 30-60 minutes of exercise. Examples: 60-yd shuttle, medicine ball throws, and/or sport-specific drills in full equipment with no contact.
- Step 4– Full contact practice and/or training. Continue to monitor for symptoms.
- Step 5 – Following medical clearance- return to competition. Continue to monitor for symptoms.
Learn more about concussion treatment options with PT Solutions and schedule your appointment here!