When can my Child Return to School after a Traumatic Brain Injury?

May 28th, 2014 | by RON BELL

Pediatricians in New Mexico are familiar with the concept of “return-to-play” after a traumatic brain injury (TBI).  After being struck on the head during a school athletic game and then being diagnosed with a concussion, there’s a certain set of guidelines to be followed.  If a student athlete returns to school or the field too soon, it may do more harm than good.  Premature “return-to-play” of any TBI victim whether an athlete or a student watching a game, and is still injured may result in more severe, long lasting damage.  Although, “return-to-learn” plans for student-athletes have not received much media attention because so much regarding concussion awareness comes from reports of professional athletes who play a sport for their livelihood, as compared with pediatric aged athletes.

There are many stages to the “return-to-play” plan.  Only a qualified pediatric neurosurgeon or pediatrician can answer the question of when a child is ready to return to normal activities.  Here is the breakdown of the “return-to-play” plan:

  1. No activity with complete cognitive rest –  no school, no homework, no reading, no texting, no video games, no computer work.
  2. Recovery – Gradual reintroduction of cognitive activity – Relax previous restrictions on activities and add back for short periods of time (5-15 minutes at a time).  Gradual controlled increase in subsymptom threshold cognitive activities.
  3. Homework at home before school work at school.
  4. School re-entry – Part day of school after tolerating 1-2 cumulative hours of homework at home.  Re-entry into school with accommodations.
  5. Gradual reintegration into school – Increase to full day of school.
  6. Resumption of full cognitive workload – Introduce testing, catch up with essential work. Full return to school.

Any child who is injured at school while playing a sport or being involved in another school activity has the legal right to be compensated.  Medical bills, prescription costs, surgery fees, physical therapy, pain and suffering, and other future medical expenses are only some of the damages an injured person with a TBI can claim in a civil lawsuit.  If you have been injured or your child has been injured in New Mexico by another person, contact a personal injury attorney today.  A TBI attorney experienced in head injuries and spinal cord injures understands what you’re family is going through.  They will guide you with clear legal advice and protect your rights.



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