A team of Manitoba researchers is trying to figure out when it's safe to send a child back to school after they have suffered a concussion.
Sports authorities have protocols on when a young athlete can resume playing after a concussion, but no such guidelines exist on when that athlete can return to class.
"Surprisingly, probably the most difficult thing for children with concussions is returning to school," says Dr. Michael Ellis, a neurosurgeon and the medical director of the Pan Am Concussion Program, which is opening this fall in Winnipeg.
"I think before a child has a concussion, they don't realize how bright and noisy and how challenging it is to be in school."
Ellis is part of a team that is currently studying the issue. The Pan Am Clinic, the University of Manitoba and the Children's Hospital are collaborating on the study.
Kelly Russell of the Manitoba Institute of Child Health says the team wants to determine how schools can provide supportive environments for students recovering from concussions.
"We need to up the awareness to the teachers, to parents, school administrations — like, these kids are really suffering, some of them," she said.
Hockey player Dylan Thompson, 14, had his third concussion in January and has since been struggling to catch up with schoolwork.
Thompson said he was out of school for four weeks, missed exams, and still has a tough time studying these days.
"I feel like I'm behind in school. I just don't feel the same," he said.
"You can't remember things. You can't focus."
Thompson said he's waiting until his concussion symptoms are gone, but he's getting worried about his final exams.