Tips From the Experts | The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Concussion Care for Kids: Minds Matter

Tips From the Experts

The trusted, expert staff at CHOP offers information and tips to help you support your child during his recovery from a concussion.

In this section, you'll find information about:

Nutrition and concussion

Good nutrition is important to maintain our mental and physical health. This is particularly important when recovering from physical trauma, such as a concussion. While much is still unknown about the exact relationship between nutrition and brain function, we do know that when a part of the body is injured, it needs specific Fruitsnutrients to heal and make it better. The same is true for the brain. When a concussion occurs, the brain requires extra energy (i.e., nutrition) as it works to heal the injury.

Tips for healthy nutrition after a concussion

With a concussion, your child’s appetite may decrease. Here is how you can help:

Water makes up more than half of kids’ body weight and is needed to keep all parts of the body functioning properly. After a concussion, children will be more susceptible to dehydration, especially when they are just beginning to exercise again or when they are out in the hot sun or high humidity.

Tips for staying hydrated after a concussion

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Sleep and concussion

Sleep is essential to your child’s overall well-being. It is especially important if your child has a concussion. Many children who have suffered a concussion will have sleep problems, including insomnia (difficulties falling Sleeping Teenasleep and staying asleep), fatigue and daytime sleepiness. In fact, after headaches, sleep problems are the most common complaint after a concussion.

You may also find that your child is sleeping a great deal in the first few days and weeks following a concussion. This is because the brain and body need rest after a concussion.

Tips for better sleep after a concussion

The following recommendations are intended to help your child sleep once she is past the first few days or weeks after a concussion. If your child’s healthcare provider has recommended cognitive rest immediately after injury, please discuss how you should manage her sleep during that time. Discuss the following tips with your child:

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Driving and concussion

Teen Driving a CarConcussions can affect the way drivers think and act, getting in the way of making good decisions and making it too hard to detect and avoid hazards on the road. Driving with concussion symptoms can be dangerous not only for your teen driver, but also for his passengers and others on the road. Concussions change the way the brain functions, causing temporary physical and mental impairments including:

A concussion is a form of impairment. Driving while impaired, no matter the cause, can increase your child’s risk of a motor vehicle crash. Just like the brain needs to heal before returning to school and sports, the brain needs to heal before getting back to driving.

Tips to stay safe after a concussion

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Keeping a log of your child’s symptoms

Use this simple calendar to monitor your child's concussion symptoms during the recovery process. This will help you to see how your child is progressing through the step-by-step Return to Learn or Return to Play plan and what your child can tolerate without triggering symptoms. You may want to share the log with your physician during follow-up visits.

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If you suspect a concussion

Contact your child’s primary care doctor for evaluation.

Find a CHOP Primary Care physician near you »

If symptoms persist, you can schedule an appointment with
a concussion specialist:

Sports Medicine and Performance Center
215-590-1527

Pediatric Trauma Center
215-590-5932