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What activities should my child avoid if he has a concussion?

The doctor who diagnosed your child will restrict him from all strenuous and cognitive activities, such as recreational sports, video games, roller coasters, strenuous chores, and weightlifting. In order for the child to heal correctly, you must take every precaution and be patient with the healing process. The brain is like any other part of the body, and it needs rest in order to heal properly.

(This answer provided for NATA by the Georgia College & State University Athletic Training Education Program.)
Christopher Giza, MD
Pediatrics
If a concussion is suspected, the child should be removed from contact practice or play and not allowed to return until medically evaluated.

Once diagnosed, every child’s recovery is different. In general, it is recommended for the child to have an initial period of relative rest (1-3 days) where their activity is limited based upon their symptoms. Cognitive activity sometimes worsens symptoms, but families should be reassured that cognitive activity itself doesn’t cause additional damage. It is ok to limit cognitive and physical activities that worsen symptoms, particularly for the first few days.

Some doctors recommend avoiding excessive stimulation, including video games, computer screen time, loud music, bright lights and busy locations, but use your common sense. You do want to avoid prolonged inactivity or absences from school.

No child should return to physical education or contact sports practice while still having symptoms or taking medication to control symptoms. It is possible, with medical supervision, for a child athlete to return to no-risk physical activity as part of their recovery as long as they are on track for returning to school and academics.

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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.