Rest has long been the cornerstone of concussion treatment. For sports-related head injuries, for example, current guidelines say children should avoid returning to play — and all other physical activity — until all concussion symptoms such as headaches are gone. New research however, suggests those who exercise within a week of injury, regardless of symptoms, have nearly half the rate of concussion symptoms that linger more than a month.
“This is the first large-scale study to provide support for the benefits of early exercise on symptom recovery following acute pediatric concussion, shifting away from conservative rest towards more active physical rehabilitation recommendations,” Dr. Zemek said. “If earlier re-introduction of physical activities is, in fact, confirmed to be beneficial to recovery,” he said, “this would have a significant impact on the well-being of millions of children and families worldwide and cause a major shift in concussion management.”