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Rest isn’t best for children when recovering from a concussion: study

"An earlier return to school after a concussion was associated with better outcomes."

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Young man with trauma of the head
An early return to school may be the best option when recovering from a concussion, the study indicated. (ESB Professional via Shutterstock)

By Stephen Beech via SWNS

Rest isn’t best for children when it comes to recovering from a concussion, suggests a new study.

Going back to school sooner after a head injury can mean a faster recovery, according to the latest findings.

Scientists say that, contrary to popular belief, rest may not always be the best cure after being knocked out.

Their research, published in JAMA Network Open, found that an early return to school may be associated with a lower symptom burden after suffering a concussion and ultimately, faster recovery.

Study lead author Dr. Christopher Vaughan said: “We know that absence from school can be detrimental to youth in many ways and for many reasons.

Picture of male doctor diagnosing injured woman
(Ground Picture via Shutterstock)

“The results of this study found that, in general, an earlier return to school after a concussion was associated with better outcomes.

"This helps us feel reassured that returning to some normal activities after a concussion, like going to school, is ultimately beneficial.”

The research team collected data from more than 1,600 youngsters aged five to 18 from nine pediatric emergency departments in Canada.

They found that an early return to school was associated with a lower symptom burden 14 days after suffering the injury in the eight to 12-year-old and 13 to 18-year-old age groups.

Dr. Vaughan, a neuropsychologist at Children’s National Hospital in the United States, said: “Clinicians can now confidently inform families that missing at least some school after a concussion is common, often between two and five days, with older kids typically missing more school.

“But the earlier a child can return to school with good symptom management strategies and with appropriate academic supports, the better that we think that their recovery will be.”

He said the findings suggest that there could be a mechanism of therapeutic benefit to the early return to school which could be due to a number of factors, including avoiding the negative effects of isolation and maintaining or returning to a normal sleep/wake schedule.


Dr. Vaughan added: "Given the multitude of other factors that can be expected to influence when a child returns to school after a concussion – including injury severity, specific symptoms, and pre-injury factors – a large sample size and complex statistical analytic approach was required.

"Future randomized clinical trials and other research can help determine the best timing for a student to return to school after suffering a concussion."

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