Restricting rest after concussions helps children return to normal activities

A new study published in the Pediatrics journal by a team of researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the Medical College of Wisconsin has found that limiting the amount of rest adolescents receive after concussions may help them return to normal activities sooner.

The research was funded by MCW’s Injury Research Center and conducted at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin on patients ages 11 to 22 years who came to the emergency department for care within 24 hours of a concussion. Adolescents were randomized into two groups, one that was recommended strict rest at home for five days and the other rest for one to two days, followed by a gradual return to activity. Both groups underwent neurocognitive, balance and symptom assessments during follow-up.

The study found that, while there were no differences in brain function or ability to balance, being told to rest for five days, rather than one to two, increased patients’ rating of symptoms during follow-up.

“In the past, we really thought that more rest was better for these kids,” said chief investigator Dr. Danny Thomas, assistant professor of pediatrics at MCW and an emergency medicine physician at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. “But this study found the children who had rested too much took longer to return to their normal activities and complained of more symptoms during follow-up.”

This is the first study to test the recommended rest period as an intervention to improve concussion outcomes. Further research is needed to determine optimal recommendations for adolescents after concussions. 

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display