A Balanced Protocol for Return to School for Children and Youth Following Concussive Injury

Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2015 Jul;54(8):783-92. doi: 10.1177/0009922814567305. Epub 2015 Jan 18.


Background: Few protocols exist for returning children/youth to school after concussion. Childhood concussion can significantly affect school performance, which is vital to social development, academic learning, and preparation for future roles. The goal of this knowledge translation research was to develop evidence based materials to inform physicians about pediatric concussion.

Methods: The Return to School (RTS) concussion protocol was developed following the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence procedures.

Results: Based on a scoping review, and stakeholder opinions, an RTS protocol was developed for children/youth. This unique protocol focuses on school adaptation in 4 main areas: (a) timetable/attendance, (b) curriculum, (c) environmental modifications, and (d) activity modifications.

Conclusion: A balance of cognitive rest and timely return to school need to be considered for returning any student to school after a concussion. Implementation of these new recommendations may be an important tool in prevention of prolonged absence from school and academic failure while supporting brain recovery.

Keywords: anxiety; child; concussion; depression; mild traumatic brain injury; postconcussion syndrome; return to learn; return to school.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Concussion / rehabilitation*
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Rest
  • Schools
  • Students*