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Concussions and Classwork


Posted on Oct 29, 2013

Fall sports are in full swing and many children often get hurt with concussions during these activities, especially in contact sports. Schools have regulations on when the child can play again after experiencing a concussion. But should they also have regulations about when a child must return to school?

The New York Times looks into the issue between concussions and classwork. Many states do not allow students to resume playing sports immediately after a concussion but have no such regulations when it comes to resuming classwork. The Times reports, “On Sunday the American Academy of Pediatrics issued recommendations for “return to learn” checklists to alert doctors, school administrators and parents to potential cognitive and academic challenges to students who have suffered concussions.”

Many doctors are concerned about students being pushed to go back to school right after a concussion. The student is often not mentally ready for such a move so soon, and has trouble absorbing information and learning. “For adolescents prone to risk-taking behaviors, concussions are not just the nasty by-products of sports.

Doctors generally recommend that a student with a concussion rest initially, to give the brain time to heal. That may mean no texting, video games, computer use, reading or television. But there’s a big question mark about the timing and duration of “cognitive rest.” Experts have not identified at what point mental exertion impedes healing, when it actually helps, and when too much rest prolongs recovery,” according to The Times.

The report states that students usually need around three weeks to recover from a concussion. The Times reports, “Many school officials do not realize they can make simple accommodations to ease the student’s transition back to the classroom, the academy said. To alleviate a student’s headaches, for example, schedule rests in the school nurse’s office; for dizziness, allow extra time to get to class through crowded hallways; for light sensitivity, permit sunglasses to be worn indoors.

Students accustomed to 45-minute classes might only be able to sit through 30 minutes at the outset, or attend school for a half-day.” Concussions are taken quite seriously as they are a form of brain injury. The study’s authors are recommending that parents follow up with schools to ensure that their child is getting proper accommodations, as this is extremely important for a child recovering from a concussion.

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Gerry Oginski
NY Medical Malpractice & Personal Injury Trial Lawyer