To Your Health
September, 2021 (Vol. 15, Issue 09)
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Curb Kids' Screen Time Following a Concussion

By Editorial Staff

You're probably thinking to yourself: If my child's just experienced a concussion, they're out of their favorite sport for at least a few weeks, so why not let them at least enjoy some (if not more than usual) screen time? The reason is simple and sobering: It could complicate their recovery, particularly within the  crucial window of time – the first 48 hours following the concussion.

Researchers divided children (as well as young adults – up to age 25) into two groups for comparison. One group was permitted screen time in the 38 hours following their concussion, while the second group was allowed no screen time during the same time period. The average patient age was 18 years, and all had presented to an emergency department within 24 hours of sustaining a concussion.

device free zone - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark Patients who abstained from screen time experienced concussion symptoms for 3 1/2 days, on average, based on a 22-symptoms scale that graded each symptom from 0 (not present) to 6 (severe). Symptom resolution was defined by the researchers as a score of 3 or lower on the scale, which was completed by all patients for 10 days. By comparison, patients with unrestricted screen time needed an average of eight days to reach symptom resolution per the requirements above.

The study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, notes that 2.5 million people visit the ER every year for traumatic brain injuries in the U.S., and children and adolescents (ages 10-19) are the most likely age group to suffer a concussion. In other words, concussions – and recovery from them – are a big deal. It's safe to say that every parent wants one thing if their child experiences a concussion: a quick recovery. Curbing their screen time might be part of the answer.