If your child plays hockey or spends any time in a karate studio, you've likely been briefed on what happens if he gets concussed. But a new American study reveals that taking a break from physical activity isn't enough; kids need a break from mental stimulation, too. That means saying no to video games, texting and schoolwork in order to help your child's brain heal for the first three to five days following a concussion, even if symptoms are mild.
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital, as reported by Boston.com, "tracked 335 student athletes who were treated for concussions incurred on the playing field. They found that those who took the most time off from tasks that required a lot of thinking had the quickest recovery from headaches, dizziness, nausea, and other concussion symptoms."
The study also concluded that "concussed kids who kept up a full schedule of cognitive activity took about 100 days to recover from symptoms, compared to 20 to 50 days for those who did less homework, reading, or video games."
So the next time your child takes a hit, make sure he avoids, or at least limits, cognitive stimulation — even if that means homework. Dr. William Meehan, co-author of the study, says "it’s fine to lie in bed quietly, watching TV or listening to music with the volume on low."
While it might be hard (read: impossible) to convince your active tween to lay low following a dust-up, rest and time is the only proven treatment for a concussion. So put your foot down Mom and Dad.
Has your child ever had a concussion?