How do concussions affect children and adults differently?

Kids, especially teenagers, generally take longer to recover from concussions than adults. The average adult concussion lasts about a week, while the average teenage concussion generally lasts two to three weeks. Because young brains are growing and developing, a concussion can affect a child or teen’s ability to learn, at least until they recover from the concussion.

Concussions affect children and adults differently. Kids must avoid repeated head injuries or concussions that may cause long-term damage.

The symptoms of a concussion and its affect on the body are not different for children or adults. However, those who have suffered a concussion in the past are more likely to experience one in the future, so follow your doctor's guidelines for getting back into sports and activities. Children should always wear appropriate safety equipment when playing sports or engaging in physical activities.

Although the symptoms are often the same, they may be worse for a child or teen. The concussion is also more likely to last longer, have more significant impact on daily life (school, exercise), and affect the child's future. Children who suffer a concussion or more likely to get another one, and each subsequent concussion can be worse than the first. It is critical that a concussion be evaluated and treated by a concussion specialist such as a sports medicine physician, physiatrist or neurologist.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.