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Concussions on the Field, Repercussions in School

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Author: 
Robert Lee Hotz
Published Date: 
19 August 2013
Publication: 
The Wall Street Journal
Original article: 

The latest question for researchers studying the consequences of concussions isn't when student-athletes can safely get back in the game. It's how long to wait before they can return to class.

New research suggests concussion effects may linger weeks after symptoms of dizziness and headaches have disappeared. School-safety experts are focusing attention on the impact of concussions on classroom performance. A small study of 28 patients by New York University researchers published earlier this year in the journal Radiology found that brain changes could be detected up to a year after even one mild concussion.

Brain-injury specialists say the mental exertion of normal classwork could even worsen the effects of a concussion. The harder students recovering from a concussion try to focus on any mental activity, the more severe their headaches or dizziness may become.

The cognitive effects of a blow to the head on the playing field can temporarily make focusing on studies, taking tests or listening in classrooms more difficult, several pediatric neurologists said. Concussion-related memory problems, mental sluggishness and inability to focus can affect grades, SAT scores and placement test results.

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