Children who are slow to recover from sports-related concussion need specialized rehabilitation

Child in Hospital Bed

Some children and adolescents who suffer from a sports-related concussion may recover more slowly than adults. Therefore, clinical professionals have long recommended that rehabilitation programs specific for children be developed.

The Montreal Children's Hospital Trauma Programs developed a set of guidelines specific for children, called the Montreal Children's Hospital Rehabilitation After Concussion (MCH-RAC). Instead of the typical path of physical and cognitive evaluations that may allow an adult athlete to return to the sport quickly, the MCH-RAC provides a gradually active and closely monitored program for children who are slow to recover.

A study of 16 children who were slow to recover (out of 142 who presented with sports-related concussion), showed that all 16 recovered significantly and quickly after participating in the MCH-RAC. Feelings of depression, headache, and fatigue rapidly improved, and the children were able to return to their normal lifestyle and sport.

Researchers at the Montreal Children's Hospital therefore recommend a specialized treatment program of gradual, closely-supervised, active rehabilitation for children who are slow to recover from sports-related concussion.

Gagnon I, Galli C, Friedman D, et al. Active rehabilitation for children who are slow to recover following sport-related concussion. Brain Injury. (November 2009).