WESTBOROUGH, MA April 20, 2017 Whenever I meet someone who comes to me because of a recent concussion they will inevitably ask “what happens if I return to play too soon?” If it isn’t the athlete asking that question it might be their parent. Ever since the era of awareness of concussion began people have been more apprehensive about their return to activity. I recently took care of a basketball coach who was feeling better when she was hit in the back of the head with an errant basketball during the shoot around. Her symptoms returned with intensity and left her on the sideline for over a month. People now accept that the cumulative effects of concussion can have lasting impact.
The consensus currently indicates that some activity during recovery is beneficial rather than 100 % rest as once espoused. That activity would consist of physical therapy, exertion and balance training along with controlled cognitive exercise. It is still recommended that recovering patients not overuse their computers, tablets, game systems, etc. Sleep and rest also remain an important component of the recovery plan especially when re-integrating into school or work. If symptoms persist or worsen than I often suggest lessening the work load. Most schools will write off some work assignments when necessary. Some students get quite anxious about the make-up requirements for classrooms work if they have missed days or weeks of school.
“Concussive injury has the potential to derail the trajectory of normal development and is fully preventable,” according to Michael Sefton, Ph.D., Director of Neuropsychology at Whittier Rehabilitation Hospital in Westborough, MA, US.