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Teen Health

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After a Concussion: What to Do

How to help your brain get better after a concussion.

Slow Down at School

You'll also need a break from tests and heavy-duty school work during that time. Here's how:

  • Stay home. Miss a day or more of school until you feel well enough to return.
  • Come in late for a while if you’re too tired in the morning, or go home early if your symptoms are getting worse in the afternoon.
  • Leave class if you are feeling tired or exhausted
  • Take extra time to turn in homework.
  • Postpone tests until you feel better. This is especially important when a lot is riding on the test, like the SATs or the ACT.
  • Find a quiet spot somewhere in the classroom where sights and sounds won’t interrupt you as much, like away from a window or noisy hallway.
  • Make your case. A note from your doctor should help at school when you ask for special treatment. Your parents, coach, or your school’s athletic trainer can also help explain the situation.

Get Back to Normal

After your doctor gives you the OK to get back to normal life, take it easy. Don't go all out, all at once.

All those brain-challenging activities you skipped? Get back to them slowly -- for a few minutes at a time, Coppel suggests. And back off if you get a headache or feel badly. Build back up, bit by bit.

No More Concussions

You definitely don't want another concussion. Having more than one may mess with your memory or concentration, or lead to other long-term thinking problems. 

So do this:

  • Wear a helmet when you should. That means when you’re on your bike, scooter, 4-wheeler, horse, snowmobile, or skis. You also need a properly fitting helmet when you’re playing football, lacrosse, or other contact sports, and when you’re batting in baseball or softball.
  • Follow the rules when you’re playing sports. No headbutting, for instance. These rules are in place to protect you, including your head.
  • Wear a seatbelt in the car. Every time. And -- do we really need to say it -- never drink or use drugs when driving. Of course, that's not just about concussion risk. That's about staying alive, period.
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Reviewed on November 03, 2011

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