This section is written for school-based professionals (administrators, guidance counselors, nurses, school psychologists, school resource officers and teachers).
We share a common goal: to return a student with a concussion back to the classroom as safely and as quickly as possible.
A child’s primary “job” or responsibility is to attend school and learn. Unfortunately, academic challenges are common after a student sustains a concussion. Although not every concussed child plays sports, every child is a student and the initial focus should be a return to school before return to sports.
Concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury, induced by biomechanical forces, caused by a blow or jolt to the head or body. It temporarily disrupts the normal functioning of the brain. Concussion is not a structural injury, so standard radiological tests are often normal. Read more about concussion.
Most people recover completely from a concussion in days or weeks, but symptoms can last much longer. Over-exertion, re-injury and academic or emotional stress can aggravate symptoms and prolong recovery. Allowing the student to re-enter academics in a graded and monitored fashion is ideal in minimizing these stressors. A student who has co-morbidities prior to his or her concussion, such as learning disorders or migraine headaches, often has a slower recovery period.
At The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, we use a five-step process called “Return to Learn” to manage a concussed student’s return to school.
Information in this section is broken down by a child’s needs from the school generally, in the classroom specifically, and by his or her developmental stage. We suggest that you skim all sections and then return to the ones that will help your student’s particular case.
Contact your child’s primary care doctor for evaluation.
Sports Medicine and Performance Center
Pediatric Trauma Center