Return to School
Having a concussion is worrying enough without also having to worry about how you will adjust to school or work. Most individuals return to their school or work within a day or two of their injury and some experience considerable difficulty keeping up to the demands that school or work represents. An initial piece of advice is to talk to your teacher or immediate supervisor and explain what has happened. At this point, you won’t know exactly what issues you will have, but almost everyone has a headache and that alone can interfere with concentration. Your doctor may also be able to provide some information to the school or workplace to describe some of the issues you may have to ensure in order to meet the requirements of the educational or occupational setting. Below is a link to a form we use to inform teachers, but this form could easily be adapted to provide information to someone in the workplace.
Teens & Concussions
Teenagers can have more difficulty recovering from a concussion than adults, with some studies showing a recovery period as much as four times longer for adolescents. See one patient’s story in this video.
Returning to Normal Activity
The unique nature of concussion precludes us from giving advice that can apply to everyone in every situation. It is important that you work with your doctor and other health care professionals to determine the best plan for you and the most constructive advice to educators and employers. For example, a frequent suggestion is to take time off from school or work in order to recover from the concussion. We have found that it is best to take no more time away from work or school than is necessary, mostly because it then becomes much harder to readjust to return to activity once you have adjusted to a much slower life. How do we know how much time off is necessary? Cognitive activity is much like physical exercise, too much after a concussion can
cause symptom exacerbation. If attending school all day results in headaches and other symptoms then change to half days, with a plan to gradually expand the number of hours in the classroom until you either reach your threshold (and experience symptom exacerbation) or you return to full time attendance. Of course, it helps tremendously of the school officials are on board and helpful. We have a case example of a young man who returned to school after a very serious concussion. Because of his very low exercise threshold we knew he would take a long time (six months or more) to adjust so we held a meeting with his school officials. With everyone pitching in this young man had a very good outcome.