“Studies in the last five years have focused largely on the athletic side of the equation — “taking them off the field, not putting them back on the field with symptoms, but this is really looking at the student side of the equation,” said senior author Gerard A. Gioia of Children’s National Health System in Rockville, Maryland.
Almost 60 percent of kids with symptoms, and 64 percent of their parents, said they were moderately or very concerned about the concussion affecting school learning and performance, compared to 16 percent of recovered kids and 30 percent of their parents.
More than half of symptomatic kids said they were now spending more time on homework, compared to one-fifth of those without symptoms. They also reported more difficulty studying and taking class notes.
“School systems need to be prepared to accept and support these kids heading back into classrooms before full recovery,” which requires collaboration between medical professionals and school staff, he said.
Study: Academic Effects of Concussion in Children and Adolescents (Pediatrics). From the abstract:
- METHOD: A sample of 349 students ages 5 to 18 who sustained a concussion and their parents reported academic concerns and problems (eg, symptoms interfering, diminished academic skills) on a structured school questionnaire within 4 weeks of injury. Postconcussion symptoms were measured as a marker of injury severity. Results were examined based on recovery status (recovered or actively symptomatic) and level of schooling (elementary, middle, and high school).
- RESULTS: …High school students who had not yet recovered reported significantly more adverse academic effects than their younger counterparts. Greater severity of postconcussion symptoms was associated with more school-related problems and worse academic effects, regardless of time since injury.
- CONCLUSIONS: This study provides initial evidence for a concussion’s impact on academic learning and performance, with more adverse effects reported by students who had not yet recovered from the injury. School-based management with targeted recommendations informed by postinjury symptoms may mitigate adverse academic effects, reduce parent and student concerns for the impact of the injury on learning and scholastic performance, and lower the risk of prolonged recovery for students with active postconcussion symptoms.