The American Academy of Pediatrics issued recommendations over the weekend for “return to learn” checklists to alert doctors, school administrators and parents to potential cognitive and academic challenges to students who have suffered a concussion.
A New York Times article noted that “only a few states have begun to address how and when a student should resume classwork.”
The problem may be the lack of consensus among researchers.
“Doctors generally recommend that a student with a concussion rest initially, to give the brain time to heal,” according to the Times. “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. Although many doctors are concerned that a hasty return to a full school day could be harmful, this theory has not yet been confirmed by research.
“The student’s pediatrician, parents and teachers should communicate about the incident,” according to recommendations in the article, “and be watchful for when academic tasks aggravate symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, sensitivity to light and difficulty concentrating. The academy acknowledged that case management must be highly individualized: ‘Each concussion is unique and may encompass a different constellation and severity of symptoms.’”
The Times went on to quote Dr. Robert C. Cantu, the nation’s leading expert on concussions as saying “The overriding theme is not to exacerbate symptoms.”
The full Times article is available here: