Hamilton

New McMaster concussion rehab guidelines for kids: you can be more active on 1st day

A McMaster University research institute has developed new guidelines for how quickly kids should become active again after suffering a concussion.

The new guidelines were announced this week by CanChild

Research coordinator Sarah Randall assesses a child for her full return to school and activity. (Ron Scheffler/McMaster University)

A McMaster University research institute has developed new guidelines for how quickly kids should become active again after suffering a concussion.

The new guidelines were announced this week by CanChild.

"For children, recovering from a concussion is like a snakes and ladders game, as there are times where they may have rapid improvement and climb through the steps more quickly, and other times where returning symptoms mean they have to take a slide back," said author Carol DeMatteo, professor of rehabilitation science and a CanChild researcher, in a statement.

"Families have always felt the recovery instructions were too restrictive and difficult to follow. We now know that too much rest after concussion is not a good thing, and children can begin some activity sooner as long as they don't overdo it and make their symptoms worse."

DeMatteo said the updated guidelines suggest that during the first 24 hours after the injury, at home and leisure activities can be undertaken as long as they are in five-minute chunks, and stopped if symptoms increase.

The research centre says its new guidelines branch out into three categories of concussions, for people who are symptom free within 48 hours, one to four weeks, or for people who have symptoms for more than a month, respectively.

Recovery is broken into stages, which outline a goal, activities allowed and what to look for before heading to the next stage.

She said the most important thing for people to remember is every child is different and will progress at their own pace based on the severity of their symptoms.

DeMatteo said that among Canadian children, the average age for a sport-related concussion is 13.5-years-old, and both in Hamilton and across Canada, the most common sports resulting in concussions for boys is hockey, and for girls is soccer.

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