Concussion Program

The Stanford Medicine Children’s Health Concussion Program is a comprehensive program designed to help your child return to sports and regular activity safely after a concussion. Our team of experts in orthopedicssports medicineneurology and neurosurgery are available to provide consultation and coordinated care.

What is a concussion?

A concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a blow to the head or jolt to the body. A concussion can result in temporary changes in your child’s normal functioning, especially in areas of attention and balance. Most young people will recover completely from a single concussion within two weeks, however, some may take longer. It is important to have your child evaluated by a physician.

Concussion signs and symptoms

Visit a doctor immediately if your child is experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Increasing confusion
  • Severe, worsening or persistent headache
  • Multiple vomiting episodes
  • Difficulty waking up
  • Trouble walking
  • Seizure
  • Strange behavior
  • Weakness
  • Loss of or sudden change in vision
  • One pupil is larger than the other
  • Losing consciousness

Visit a doctor within a few days if your child is experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Feeling dazed, dizzy or confused
  • Forgetting what happened around the time of the injury
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Sensitivity to light/noise
  • Trouble concentrating, difficulty remembering, slowed thinking
  • Emotional changes such as irritability, sadness or anxiety

Tips for helping your child get better

Safety: Avoid sports or other activities that might cause another blow to the head. Return to contact or impact sports is not recommended until your child has been evaluated.

Activity: Moderate intensity aerobic exercise (non-contact, such as cycling or running) is encouraged after 24 to 48 hours rest under your doctor’s direction. Monitoring recovery and return to activity often requires help from parents, teachers, coaches and athletic trainers.

Extra time: Typical activities may take longer than normal. Allow as much time as your child needs and avoid pressure to complete tasks quickly.

If they forget, give them the information: If your child has trouble recalling information, just fill in the blanks. It doesn’t speed recovery by trying to force them to recall the information.

Allow breaks: Your child may have trouble paying attention. Encourage frequent breaks and shorter work periods.

Patience: Your child may experience more irritability, a shorter temper or become frustrated more easily than what is usual. Don’t take it personally and encourage a break to cool off.

Concussion Innovation and Research

The Stanford Concussion and Brain Performance Center was founded in 2014 and is part of the Department of Neurosurgery at Stanford Medical School. The Center aims to improve outcomes for traumatic brain injury patients worldwide by working closely with the Brain Trauma Foundation and other institutions to develop best practice guidelines, conduct clinical research, and educate medical professionals and consumers.