Concussion Recovery: How Long Will It Take for My Child?

Feb 20, 2023
Concussion Recovery: How Long Will It Take for My Child?
A child’s concussion is a serious concern — especially when it’s your child. Let’s examine what the recovery period looks like and how long it will take for your child to be able to resume their normal activities.

If your child has been diagnosed with a concussion, whether it’s the result of a fall, a vehicle accident, or a sports accident, you want them to receive expert care. After all, a concussion is a traumatic brain injury. 

Dr. Charles Niesen, a board-certified pediatric neurologist, and our team at AMS Neurology in Pasadena, California, provide expert and compassionate care for children with concussions. Our depth of experience ensures your child receives the highest quality care. 

How long does concussion recovery take in a child? 

Recovery from a concussion depends on its severity. Concussions are graded. If your child lost consciousness even for a minute, it’s a higher grade than having a headache and feeling shaky for a bit. 

It’s important to seek the assistance of a pediatric neurologist right away after your child’s concussion. We assess their function and provide specific guidance on what to do in the days and weeks following their incident.

Most children’s symptoms abate after a week or two, but some can last a month or longer. If your child loses consciousness, even briefly, recovery time could be a month or more. If symptoms stop but reoccur with any activity, it means your child’s brain isn’t fully healed. 

Early treatment is important. If your child is 12 years or older, Dr. Niesen may administer a special post-injury assessment within 72 hours of their injury. Our expert staff administers the test every week to determine your child’s neurocognitive progress. 

Rest for your child’s brain and body after a concussion is a critical part of their healing. This involves changes in physical activity levels and likely means changes in schoolwork routines. 

Concussions and schoolwork

Your child may need accommodations at school and for homework while their brain is healing. They may struggle with headaches and have difficulty concentrating, among other symptoms. AMS Neurology provides written recommendations to give to your child’s teachers, counselors, and school and sports leadership. 

Clearing your child for sports

Your child needs to be free of concussion symptoms before returning to sports. Dr. Niesen lets you know when your child is ready to resume field or court activity. Their return to sports needs to be gradual. We provide a step-by-step protocol you and your child must follow to ensure their safety. 

Dr. Niesen lets you know when your child can start to take a 10-minute walk or ride a stationary bike for a short period. The next step is very light activity like playing catch. It’s critical that your child remains symptom-free at each step of recovery. 

When your child no longer has symptoms, they can begin engaging in sports warm-ups and play their sport for short periods, but with no head-contact activity. Dr. Niesen tells you when your child is fully cleared to play sports again. 

If your child is involved in competitive contact sports such as football, lacrosse, soccer, basketball, cheerleading, or gymnastics, be proactive and get a baseline test of your child’s normal brain function. Our staff administers the test to your child. This way, if your child sustains a concussion, we compare the results with their baseline test, which is a helpful measure. 

Call our office at AMS Neurology or book an appointment online today for expert pediatric concussion care.