Concussions are brain injuries that when managed appropriately should have no long-term consequences.
Recovery time varies, often by age group. Explains Donna Broshek, PhD, ABPP-CN, Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia. “Recovery from concussion tends to be from one week to four weeks in general, but it’s really very individualized, because there are different factors that each individual may have that may contribute to them having a longer recovery. It’s important that evaluation and management be very individualized to that specific person,” says Dr. Broshek.
The young adult to middle aged population recovers more quickly than children, whose brains are still developing, and older people age 70 and up, who usually experience a more complicated recovery, says Dr. Broshek.
Allowing adequate time to recover from a concussion is critically important. Well managed concussions, in which people don’t put themselves at risk for another head injury but also engage in light activity, usually result in complete, successful recoveries, experts agree.
“It is important to be physically active and engaged in life. And a concussion may just take you out of that temporarily, but we want to help you get right back into those things in a safe way,” says Dr. Broshek.
She points out that resting during a concussion is not the same thing as total physical inactivity, which is dangerous for long-term health. “When you look at the population, there’s a much lower risk of a concussion for participating in sports than there is from the negative health outcomes from diabetes, obesity, and physical inactivity. Inactivity is certainly not the way to manage a concussion.”