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New Concussion Guide Helps Parents Support Recovery

Child sits at his school desk
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. William J. Jackson

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) released a 26-page guide that offers practical advice to parents on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion, information on treatment and recovery, and what a parent can do to support a child’s recovery and successful return to school.

The new “Parent’s Guide to Returning Your Child to School After a Concussion” advises parents of children who have been diagnosed with a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), also known as concussion, on how to help their child successfully return to school and related activities.

A traumatic brain injury is a blow or jolt to the head that disrupts the normal function of the brain. The severity of the TBI is determined at the time of the injury and may be classified as mild, moderate or severe. Mild TBI is the most common form. This type of head injury may result in headaches, visual disturbances, sleep issues, dizziness, poor concentration and memory problems, and changes to behavior, personality or mood.

“Though written to help military families, this parent’s guide contains detailed practical advice for helping your school-aged child recover from concussion and is very useful for all families,” said Army Col. Sidney Hinds, II, M.D., DVBIC national director.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of concussions in children has risen 60 percent during the past decade. Each year, more than 173,000 children and adolescents are treated in emergency rooms for traumatic brain injuries.

“Children who have a concussion are expected to make a full recovery with the proper rest and treatment,” said Hinds, a board-certified neurologist. “The pace of recovery is unique for each child. Cognitive, or mental, rest is as important as physical rest to give the brain time to heal itself. Advice varies widely, but in general, most medical professionals agree on this approach: complete rest for the first 24 hours. Gradually re-introduce activity, but stop any activity that causes symptoms to return. Pushing your child to resume a full school workload too soon could set back his or her recovery.”

Most states have return-to-play laws to guide parents, teachers and coaches, but the area of return-to-learn varies from state to state.

DVBIC developed the guide with a panel of experts from the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland; Children’s National Health System, Washington, D.C.; Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children, Denver, Colorado; Branches of Life, Chester, Virginia; and Woodlawn Elementary School, Alexandria, Virginia.

“We brought in experts from the medical and educational communities to help make this parent’s guide useful, practical and user-friendly,” said U.S. Public Health Service Lt. Cmdr. Cathleen Davies, DVBIC education director. “We relied on the best medical expertise in the field of children’s TBI to provide sound advice on how to help your child recover from concussion and return to normal school activities.”

DVBIC serves as the Defense Department subject matter expert on TBI and manager of the TBI pathway of care for the Military Health System.

For more information on TBI or to download the “Parent’s Guide to Returning Your Child to School After a Concussion,” visit the DVBIC website.

See press release

Comments (4)

  • As a psychologist, I am interested in this topic and would like more information, trainings, etc.
  • @Kenneth, Thank you for your interest in our new resource and we hope you find it helpful. For more information about concussions/recovery, visit http://dvbic.dcoe.mil. The website includes articles, educational materials, research, etc. For trainings, visit the online education section (http://dvbic.dcoe.mil/online-education). Every month we host a webinar related to TBI and information about these webinars can be found at the above link.

    If you don't find what you're looking for on the DVBIC website, please feel free to contact DVBIC at info@dvbic.org or call 800-870-9244. You may also reach out to the DCoE Outreach Center for information and resources at 866-966-1020 or resources@dcoeoutreach.org.

    Next week, we will host the TBI Global Synapse, Sept. 15-17. This is a virtual conference for those interested in improving their knowledge and practice of TBI care. Find information about it on the DCoE Blog at http://www.dcoe.mil/blog/14-09-09/You_Are_Virtually_Invited.aspx.

  • Where would a incapacitated child (on Deers) and has Tricare go for intensive inpatient help with multiple severe TBI's that have psychological and substance abuse component? I've tried the mental health route. I tried the substance abuse route. I am now told that she needs a multidisciplinary approach that specializes in TBI's. She is only 23. Does anyone help military dependents?
  • Ms. Ketchersid, we are sorry to hear about your daughter’s injuries and struggle getting treatment. Military dependent care is an issue that DCoE and the armed forces take very seriously. TRICARE has a toll-free hotline to help navigate care. For more information, please visit http://www.tricare.mil/contactus.aspx. Also, please visit Locating Health Care in Your State to discuss additional resources for finding care.

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This page was last updated on: September 14, 2017.