Aug 10, 2016, 8:41:10 AM CDT Feb 23, 2023, 4:41:40 PM CST

Concussion recovery: Back in class and back in the game

After a concussion, it's common to wonder when your child can get back to their daily routine. The pediatric specialists at Children's Health can help you safely determine an effective plan.

Boy at football practice running drills Boy at football practice running drills

Concussions are serious injuries that require plenty of time to heal. Limiting physical and mental activities is extremely important in the recovery process.

When can my child return to school after a concussion?

The first few days following a concussion, most kids should remain home from school. It is important to increase rest and reduce brain stimulation including screen time, visits with friends, video games and more. Brain cells repair themselves daily, so the effects of the concussion on your child’s mental capacity should lessen, allowing you to send them back to school after a concussion in about a week.

When can my child return to sports after a concussion?

A concussion is nothing to play around with. Your child should NEVER return to sports, PE class or other physical activity until a pediatric specialist sees no symptoms or signs of a concussion and verifies it is okay to return to play.

It is important to emphasize to your child that he or she must be honest when reporting symptoms. Your child may feel pressured from coaches or friends to get back to “normal” quickly and return to practice or social events. However, your role as parent is to enforce rest and reduce brain stimulation during your child’s recovery.

One easy way to communicate with both your doctor and your school about your child’s condition is this concussion symptom wheel. It’s designed to allow your provider to easily identify the symptoms your child is experiencing and indicate to school staff how they can best help transition your child back into the classroom.

Concussion recovery timeline

Phase 1: Days 0-5 post injury*

  • Difficulty handling routine activities
  • Exhibits concussion symptoms, may need medications
  • Sports and school restricted as much as possible


Phase 2: Days 2-10 post injury*

  • Routine activities are easier to handle
  • Symptoms are on the decline, weaning off medications
  • Returning to school full time, still on activity restrictions


Phase 3: Days 7-21 post injury*

  • Able to do well at school
  • Medications can be stopped
  • Re-enter and complete "Return to play protocol"


*Timelines are general guidelines only and may not represent all cases.

Learn more

Learn more about the Children’s Health Concussion Program.

Screen capture of family newsletter signup

Thank you!

You are now subscribed to the Children's Health Family Newsletter.

Children's Health will not sell, share or rent your information to third parties. Please read our privacy policy.

Children's Health Family Newsletter

Get health tips and parenting advice from Children's Health experts sent straight to your inbox twice a month.

concussion, cognitive, physical fitness, psychology

Childrens Health