DENVER (KDVR) — Students are back in school, which could mean more injuries for students involved in sports.
“I think the biggest update that we’ve seen in the last six years is encouraging athletes to no longer do complete rest after a concussion. Complete rest after a concussion can be detrimental to patients,” Colorado Concussion Research Laboratory Director Dr. David Howell said.
Researchers suggest patients return to moderate physical activity after concussion symptoms subside.
“We’re kind of realizing there’s this Goldilocks zone where you don’t want to do too much after your injury, but you also don’t want to do nothing,” Howell said. “Don’t go out and do intense exercise for three hours after a concussion, but also don’t do nothing, don’t sit on the couch and wait for symptoms to get better.”
Despite previous ideas that patients need to be woken up every hour if they have a concussion, Howell said sleep is very important during recovery unless it’s a more severe injury like bleeding in the brain or a traumatic brain injury.
“We see this myth continue to persist today, even in films and TV shows where people get a concussion and they say you got to wake them up every hour,” Howell said. “If it is a concussion, sleep in the first day or two after the injury occurs is the best thing you can do.”
Recent research also links concussions to orthopedic injuries. Howell said you’re more likely to get an orthopedic injury, such as an ankle or hamstring sprain, after having a concussion. That’s why proper rehabilitation is critical after a concussion.
Researchers said if you have symptoms of a concussion, it’s important to sit a game out. Playing through a concussion will only prolong the symptoms.
“That person that continues to play throughout the game, on average, they experience symptoms for about a week longer,” Howell said.