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.