Light activity, electronics OK during recovery
From the WashU Newsroom…
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has updated its concussion recommendations to support children and teens engaging in light physical activity and returning to school as they recover. The report, revised for the first time in eight years, also advises against complete removal of electronic devices, such as television, computers and smartphones, following a concussion.
Previously, the academy had recommended that kids recovering from concussions not be active or use electronics, due to concerns that either were too simulating and might hinder the brain from recovering. These recommendations are included in a new clinical report published online Nov. 12 in Pediatrics, the journal of the AAP.
“We’ve learned that keeping kids in dark rooms and eliminating all cognitive and physical activity actually worsened a lot of kids’ symptoms rather than improving them,” said Mark Halstead, MD, an associate professor of pediatrics and of orthopedic surgery and lead author of the AAP report offering updated recommendations on sports-related concussions in children and adolescents.
The basis for the AAP’s original recommendations stems from the notion that the brain needed time to recuperate after a concussion. However, researchers found that recovering children who were prohibited from activities and electronics can develop feelings of social isolation, anxiety or depression.
“Shutting down an active child entirely doesn’t make them feel good and, frankly, can make them feel like they are being punished for getting hurt,” said Halstead, director of the St Louis Children’s Hospital Young Athlete Center Sports Concussion Program. “Kids can develop anxiety by missing school, and the fear of getting behind can overwhelm the.”