Last week a report was published on the CBS The Morning show entitled “Doctor’s Sound the Alarm on Concussion Crisis”. The premise of the report states:
“an unjustified fear of concussions — in part because of hype in the media — is helping cause a sharp decline in kids’ participation in sports.
And that, some doctors say, is much more harmful to kids long-term than a concussion.”
This is an unfortunate report in that it infers absolutes in clinical thinking when it is speculative, at best.
The big push of this article is to focus on a few studies that suggest that extended rest could be counter productive for concussion recovery, and a small sample of vocal doctors.
Concussion Recovery Must Be A Priority
Of course exercise is good for our youth. No one would argue that today. Recovery of concussive injury should simply take priority over physical conditioning, including rest, which is implicated in virtually every concussion recovery model. In other words, rest, especially in the acute phase of concussive injury, should be prescribed by any doctor, based upon significant research in this field.
The evidence for complications associated with a single concussion is as significant as the evidence to abandon prolonged rest for children with mild traumatic brain injury. However, the author of this article makes the statement that there is no definitive evidence that a concussion causes long-term damage, which is ludacris. Even if only anecdotal, it is clinically clear that concussion can cause long term damage.
At the end of the article, a story is presented that, once again, implies that Maddie’s troubles were created by the recommendations of rest by her doctor. We find clarification in the next sentence that let’s us know that her problems were actually created by being put back into the game following a concussion.
“Maddie’s parents are suing her old coach, saying he kept her in the game and made her injury so severe.”
While I have no doubt that there are specific cases in which rest may not be appropriate, it should not be presented as good advise for concussion management in general.