How long should my child sit out from sports after a concussion?

Before your child can return to sports after a concussion he should to be evaluated by a licensed healthcare provider who has experience with concussions. Not every doctor has kept up with the changing panorama on concussions. In the old days, if you weren't knocked unconscious you just went right back in. It's different now, so you want to make sure your doctor is familiar with what is current on concussions. Your child should follow an individualized, gradual return to cognitive activity. That's the first goal for the student athlete.

You also want your child to be asymptomatic or at least for his symptoms to be markedly improving over time to indicate that the brain is getting better. He should have a normal neurological examination at rest, and he should also remain asymptomatic and have a normal examination with some exertion. He should return to school first, followed by a careful evaluation and then a step-wise return to play.
This content originally appeared online at UCLA Health.

Your child’s doctor will determine the appropriate length of time that your child should be restricted from participating in sports or other activities. The child must be symptom-free for seven days, as well as pass a variety of tests before returning to sports and other activities. It may take several weeks or months before a child is able to return to play.

(This answer provided for NATA by the Georgia College & State University Athletic Training Education Program.)

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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.