Young athletes are students first, and returning to school after an injury is as important – if not more so – as returning to the field of practice or play. It is important that teachers, school nurses, and school officials coordinate and monitor the treatment of injured students to be sure recovery is complete.
- All concussions are serious
- Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness
- Recognition and proper response to concussions when they first occur can help prevent further injury
- When in doubt, sit them out
Returning to school:
Students who have been injured often need additional support to perform school activities during their recovery. After a concussion, teachers, nurses, counselors, school psychologists, and administrators should watch for:
- Problems paying attention or concentrating
- Problems remembering or learning new information
- Longer time needed to complete tasks or assignments
- Greater irritability and less ability to cope with stress
- Increased symptoms (headache or fatigue) when doing schoolwork
The importance of full recovery:
Full recovery should be documented with an assessment by a healthcare professional before the student returns to a full academic schedule.
We define full recovery as:
- No active post-concussive symptoms (physical and cognitive) at rest or with exertion
- Neurocognitive functioning is back to pre-injury level
- No problems with balance or coordination
- No other associated medical or neurological complications
The risk of incomplete recovery:
Children or teens who still have symptoms and who return to school without a plan for supporting their learning are at risk for delayed recovery and at risk for ongoing problems with learning and performance. Please consult with a healthcare professional about any child or teen’s readiness to return to school.
What Children's National offers:
The Children’s National SCORE Concussion program partners with school officials across the DC/Maryland/Virginia region to support them in recognizing and responding to concussions in their student-athletes. If you are interested in learning about concussion education or further consultation please contact us.
Play Smart, Your Brain Matters
This year, Children’s National and MedStar were chosen as the first in the nation to receive funding to establish a concussion awareness training program that will help enforce the protocols of the District’s Athletic Concussion Protection Act of 2011.
Learn more about the Play Smart, Your Brain Matters program
Resources for schools:
Helpful resources and websites: