Care Tips for Sports-Related Concussion

Note: Did you just experience a concussion? See the first section, “All ages: 4-step plan following a concussion.”

People usually recover from concussions in 7 to 10 days. Unfortunately, approximately 1 in 10 concussions involve a more drawn-out healing process. The worst ones have a lifelong impact.

Related to sports, second impact syndrome is a legitimate concern, since sustaining multiple concussions within a relatively short window can lead to severe injury – as indicated by the nonprofit Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey (BIANJ).

Let’s look at standardized, recognized care tips for sports-related concussion recovery, followed by the option of getting expert care.

All ages: 4-step plan following a concussion

Canadian pediatric information site Caring for Kids talks about what you should do immediately following a concussion. These steps are framed in terms of kids, but the same basic game-plan applies if you have a concussion yourself. Here is the plan:

  1. Your child should immediately stop playing the sport.
  2. Keep an eye on your child at all times.
  3. Get your child to the doctor as quickly as you can.
  4. If your child is unconscious, go straight to an ER or dial 911. Do not attempt to move your child or take off any athletic gear such as helmets. Wait for the EMTs.

5 tips for child concussion recovery

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released advice, both for children and adults, for how to best respond to a concussion. First, here are the agency’s 5 child concussion recovery tips:

  1. Make sure that your child is sleeping well and resting during the day. Your son or daughter's sleep schedule should be consistent. Prohibit sleepovers and late nights.
  2. Outlaw sports during recovery. Ban activities that involve speed or danger, such as bike-riding, using a jungle gym, or going on a fair ride. Wait for doctor approval before continuing with those activities, said the CDC.
  3. Do not give any drugs to your son or daughter without first clearing them with your physician.
  4. Ask your doctor when it would make sense for your child to go back to school and extra-curricular groups. Also speak with them about how you might be able to assist with recovery. "[Y]our child may need to spend fewer hours at school, rest often, or require more time to take tests," advises the CDC.
  5. Once you have some resources from personal research or through your doctor, get information about concussion to siblings, parents, teachers, babysitters, and coaches who will be responsible for your child. These individuals should know how they can be supportive.

If your child is injured, you may get additional ideas by looking through the adult tips that follow.

14 tips for adult concussion recovery

Here are 14 concussion recovery tips for adults (also from the CDC):

  1. It is critically important that you allow yourself to rest. Sleep well, and rest during the day as needed.
  2. Try not to do anything that is too intensive either physically or mentally. Those include hard exercise, moving furniture, balancing your finances, or other strongly focused work. Difficult physical and mental tasks can slow the recovery and contribute to symptoms.
  3. Be very careful about the notion of danger related to second impacts. That means staying away from activities that have a high risk of another head injury, such as sports. It is also a good idea to stay away from amusement park rides and recreational vehicles that cause jostling.
  4. Do not jump straight into full activity, but reintroduce your regular schedule gradually.
  5. Since reaction times are negatively affected by concussion, talk to your doctor about the appropriate time to start driving a car or riding a bike again.
  6. Your doctor should be able to help you figure out the best time to return to work, said the CDC. It is also a good idea to ask them how to talk with your workplace about your condition, added the agency.
  7. Speak with your workplace about making a slow return to your job and possibly changing the way that you work and your hours during recovery.
  8. Avoid drugs other than ones that your doctor says are acceptable. Similarly, stay away from alcohol. These substances put you at risk of additional damage.
  9. If you are having memory problems, write down things that you are afraid you might forget.
  10. If you are having difficulty keeping focused, center yourself on a single activity at a time. Finish your phone call before preparing a meal rather than doing both at once.
  11. Question your judgment after a concussion. Speak with loved ones prior to making any big decisions.
  12. Be conscientious about taking care of basic needs, such as regular meals.
  13. Do not play video games or spend a lot of time in front of a computer while you are recovering.
  14. Try not to take any flights, since air travel can worsen symptoms.

Expert care for full recovery

Do you need help recovering from a sports-related concussion, whether for yourself or your child? Hopefully the above information is helpful – but you may also benefit from professional care. At Acadiana Neurosurgery, we have extensive experience diagnosing and treating concussions, helping patients get the care they need for optimal outcomes. Request an appointment.

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