As an A-student and star soccer player, Sarah was used to hard work. However, after she sustained a concussion while playing a varsity soccer game during her freshman year in high school, she found herself challenged in ways she had never expected.
“Recovering from the concussion was harder than recovering from other injuries I’ve had,” Sarah recalls. “When I got a concussion, I expected to sit out some games, but I never realized that it would actually hurt to think. For nearly two months I needed frequent breaks to make it through the school day. I would have to go to the school clinic and rest when I was overcome by headaches from the lights and noise of the classroom.”
Sarah’s story is not unusual. In fact, children and teens have the highest rate of emergency department visits for traumatic brain injury (TBI), including concussion, of all age groups. Fortunately, Sarah made a full recovery after four months and continues to be successful both in school and on the sports field.
Supporting a student recovering from a concussion requires a team-based approach by the student’s health care provider, school nurse, teachers, and parents. Providing students with written instructions on how to safely return to school and play is critical. During recovery, both physical and mental activities can cause concussion symptoms—such as an inability to pay attention or learn new information, fatigue, or headaches—to reappear or get worse.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Injury Center encourages you to spread the word about ways to prevent concussions and other TBIs, and help people recognize, respond, and recover if this injury occurs.
Free online trainings. Through its HEADS UP campaign, CDC has created free online trainings for nurses and other health care providers that include a continuing education opportunity. Take the training today.
CDC also developed materials for school nurses to help with the healthcare-to-school transition. To get these free resources, as well as handouts for teachers and parents with steps to help kids and teens return to school and play, please go to: https://www.cdc.gov/headsup/schools/index.html.