Rest Necessary After a Youth Concussion?

May 24th, 2016

Academy of Pediatrics guidelines say children should avoid returning to play – and all other physical activity -until all concussion symptoms such as headaches are gone. New research however, suggests those who exercise within a week of injury, regardless of symptoms, have nearly half the rate of concussion symptoms that linger more than a month. For the study, “Early Resumption of Physical Activities and Persistent Post-Concussive Symptoms Following Pediatric Concussion,” 3,063 children between ages of 5 and 18 who visited hospital emergency departments in Canada answered survey questions about their level of physical activity and severity of symptoms 7, 14, and 28 days after injury. The study explains,” Contrary to recommendations, researchers said, most (58 percent) of the children still experiencing concussion symptoms resumed exercising a week after being injured, and more than three-quarters (76 percent) were physically active two weeks later.” “Exercise within seven days of injury was associated with nearly half the rate of persistent post-concussive symptoms, or those that last beyond a month,” said principal investigator Roger Zemek, MD, FRCPC, who directs the clinical research unit at Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and serves as Associate Professor in the departments of pediatrics and Emergency Medicine and Clinical Research Chair in Pediatric Concussion at the University of Ottawa. He said the findings echo some previous, smaller studies calling into question the benefit of prolonged physical rest following an acute concussion, particularly exceeding three days. Is the answer to ban your child from sports and athletic training until he/she is older and physically bigger?  In my opinion, the answer is no.  Sports are a great way to reinforce the importance of fitness for kids while also teaching valuable lessons in sportsmanship, cooperation, listening skills and responsibility.  These lessons learned at a young age can help create a foundation of building blocks that kids can expand upon as they age and help to improve kids’ health. Parents and coaches need to actively monitor and listen to their athletes though.  If a child is injured, ensure the child is taken out of the game and not allowed to play on the team until he/she has fully recovered.  One way to know that recovery has occurred is to ask the child.  But don’t solely take the child’s word for it.  Check with a reputable physician and have the child receive a medical physical. Over the past couple of years, the news has reported numerous children who have died on the field because they were playing in games after receiving concussions or playing after receiving multiple concussions within a short timeframe.  This is heartbreaking because these deaths could – and should – have been prevented by not allowing the child to participate in sports so soon. As adults, it is our responsibility to keep kids safe – and healthy – as they pursue their passion for sports and athletic training this summer. Does your child want athletic training like a professional athlete? Fitness for Health’s EDGE Training works on mental processing, balance, proprioception, motor planning, motor sequencing, visual motor function and athletic conditioning utilizing the latest in exergaming technology. All are areas that will make the difference – and give you the EDGE during game time.]]>

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