It can be hard to manage an injury you cannot see. When mismanaged, concussions can have devastating consequences, but with proper management, athletes who suffer a concussion can expect a full recovery.
Recent research suggests the majority of concussion symptoms will resolve within two weeks of injury. However, it has also been found that 10 to 30 percent of concussed high school athletes suffer from symptoms lasting more than six weeks.
The Concussion Legacy Foundation recommends four simple guidelines to help athletes, parents, and coaches manage concussions and get on the road to recovery.
Learn the signs and symptoms to recognize a concussion when it happens.
Every concussion is different and can present with unique symptoms. If you suspect a concussion (what is a concussion? Click here), immediately remove the athlete from play. Athletes must not return to play the same day it is confirmed or suspected they are suffering from a concussion. Concussions can be hard to identify during play—when in doubt, sit them out.
Consult a medical professional experienced with concussions.
It is critical the athlete is evaluated by a medical professional experienced with managing concussions as soon as possible after the injury occurs. ConcussionClinics.org is a free service provided by the Concussion Legacy Foundation to help you find concussion specialists in your area.
The only way to fully recover is through rest and a concussion recovery plan provided by your doctor.
Depending on the severity of the injury, the recovery plan may include a return to play protocol to gradually re-introduce the athlete to activity. Share the plan with coaches, family members, and friends.
Provide encouragement and stick to the plan.
Recovery can be a long and frustrating process. If your athlete, family member or friend is suffering from a concussion, offer encouragement and understanding to help them through. If you are suffering from a concussion ask your doctor about support groups in your area. When it comes to concussion recovery, toughness means sticking to the recovery plan and not rushing back into play.