Sports-related concussion (SRC) rates in children has doubled during the last decade so here is some really important information that you need to know!
Many children with SRC will experience symptom resolution within 2 weeks, however 33% of these children will experience other ongoing issues including somatic, cognitive, physiological and/or behavioural symptoms. When these symptoms persist longer than 28 days, they are referred to as “persistent post-concussion symptoms”1.
Persistent post-concussion symptoms can have serious adverse effects on children and can result in school absenteeism, impaired academic performance, depressed moods, loss of social activities and lower quality of life1.
Return to exercise at the level prior to concussion is the primary determinant of physiological readiness to return to sport. Exercise can exacerbate symptoms after concussion so the “Rest-is-best” approach is commonly prescribed for anyone who experiences a concussion, however there is research out now that looks into concussion recovery in a different way.
A 2019 study looked into the effect of using rehabilitative exercise vs. static stretching to treat children with concussion symptoms that had lasted more than a month. This study found that moderate level exercise after the first 48 hours following concussion could safely speed recovery and decrease symptom scores more rapidly, although this did not reach clinical significance. Given the burden of social and academic problems during prolonged recovery in children, this reduction in delayed recovery for some participants was significant.
Aerobic exercise training has beneficial effects on autonomic nervous system regulation, cerebral blood flow regulation, cardiovascular physiology and brain neuroplasticity.2 However more research is needed to assess the mechanisms of aerobic training and persistent post-concussive symptoms.
If your child has experienced a concussion or significant bump to the head, give our practice a call so we can assess and help manage your child to a speedy recovery.
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