"Students appear physically normal after a concussion, so it may be difficult for teachers and administrators to understand the extent of the child's injuries and recognize the potential need for academic adjustments," lead author Dr. Mark Halstead said in a statement. "But we know that children who've had a concussion may have trouble learning new material and remembering what they've learned, and returning to academics may worsen concussion symptoms."
Research shows a school-age student usually recovers from a concussion within three weeks. If symptoms are severe, some students need to stay home from school after a concussion.
If symptoms appear mild or tolerable, a parent might consider returning the student to school, perhaps with some adjustments. Students with severe or prolonged symptoms lasting more than three weeks might require more formalized academic accommodations, Halstead said.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a collaborative team approach -- consisting of a pediatrician, family members and school representatives responsible for a student's academic schedule and physical activity.
"Every concussion is unique and symptoms will vary from student to student, so managing a student's return to the classroom will require an individualized approach," Halstead said.
Detailed guidance on returning to sports and physical activities is contained in the 2010 AAP clinical report, "Sport-Related Concussion in Children and Adolescents."
Halstead delivered a plenary address on concussion injuries at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition in Orlando, Fla.