If you are diagnosed with a concussion, it’s important that you are removed from play and other athletic activities immediately and do not return to play until a qualified healthcare professional clears you.
The most important treatment after a concussion is to rest as much as possible. The recovery time for a concussion will vary from person to person, but there are a few lifestyle changes you can make to help your brain heal:
- Limiting screen time on your cell phone, TV, video games or computer
- Avoiding loud or bright environments
- Sleeping and taking breaks while working on homework or other work
Being bored is the best thing to experience during your concussion recovery, because that means you are adequately resting your brain.
When you start to feel better and notice minimal concussion symptoms, you will need to go through an extensive return to play protocol. You must be without symptoms of concussion for 24 hours before beginning the day-by-day return to play process. The return to play guidelines for athletes consist of passing the ImPACT test, and then completing the following five-step graduated increase of activity, one day at a time:
- 15 minutes of light aerobic activity (jogging or biking)
- 45 minutes of more strenuous activity without equipment
- Non-contact drills in equipment
- Full practice
If any symptoms of concussion reappear at any point during the return to play process, you must wait until the symptoms subside for 24 hours and begin the protocol again.