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Health Information For Teens
If you get a concussion, it means that you’ve injured your brain and you need to give it time to get better. That usually means rest. It also means following a doctor’s advice on the things you can — and can’t — do as you heal.
All body parts take time to heal, even brains. If your brain is injured again before the first injury heals, it can lead to serious medical problems.
The good news is that following a doctor’s instructions at home lets most teens recover from concussions in a week or two without lasting health problems.
Sometimes, if concussions are serious enough, doctors send patients to the hospital for care. But most of the time, doctors send patients home to rest.
When you’re at home, you’re in charge of your own care. Take the role seriously and make sure you have what you need to follow all your doctor’s recommendations — like being able to stay in a dark or quiet room, if that is what makes you feel better. It’s the only way to help your brain heal fast and get you back in your best form for sports, studying, and other things that matter.
Here are the top things to do when healing from a concussion at home:
Your doctor may want you to do some or all of these things:
If these activities do not make your symptoms worse, you can start them again gradually, but you should stop immediately if any symptoms return. Some activities, like watching sports or playing video games, are especially bad for you because they require a lot of eye movement. Your doctor will probably tell you to stay away from these for a while.
One thing is key in healing from a concussion: You need to get the OK from your doctor before you play sports or start doing any physical activities. Even if you feel better, your thinking, behavior, and balance might not be back to normal yet.
If you play sports and a coach or school official wants you to start playing again before a doctor says it’s OK, don’t let yourself get talked into it. Almost every state has rules about when kids and teens can play sports again after a concussion. These rules are there to protect players so they’re not pushed into getting back in the game too soon — when the risk of a second, more serious injury is high.
Hurrying back to sports and other physical activities increases the risk of a condition called second-impact syndrome. This can happen if someone gets a second head injury. It’s rare, but you don’t want to be the person who gets it because it can cause lasting brain damage and even death.
Anyone with a concussion needs to heal completely before doing anything that could lead to another concussion.
Concussions are different from most injuries. Scabs peel and bruises fade. But you can’t see when your brain is healed.
Doctors have several ways to predict when someone’s brain is healed. Because every concussion is different, though, it can be tricky to decide when someone is OK to play sports or do other activities.
A doctor will consider you healed when:
After a doctor tells you it’s OK to start doing your normal activities again, ease back into things. Stop playing right away if any symptoms return. You only get one brain — don’t take any chances with it!
How can you tell if you have a concussion? What should you do? And what’s going to happen with sports and school? The facts are all on this site for teens.
In a concussion, the brain shifts inside the skull. This can cause a sudden – but usually temporary – disruption in a person’s ability to function properly and feel well. Here’s what to do if you suspect a concussion.
As long as people play sports, there will be concussions from time to time. Find out how to protect yourself and what to do if you get a concussion playing sports.
Find out what the experts have to say.
A concussion can affect you at school because it’s a type of brain injury. Doing schoolwork and being in a classroom can sometimes make things worse. Here’s what to know about school and concussions.
If the brain is a central computer that controls all the functions of the body, then the nervous system is like a network that relays messages back and forth to different parts of the body. Find out how they work in this Body Basics article.
Alex plays high school football, track, basketball, and lacrosse. He’s had two concussions. Here, he talks about his experience and what he learned.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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