Return to learn: Concussion treatment for student athletes

HOUSTON -- Tuesday marks day two for many students in the Houston area now back to school, and with the start of the new school year comes schools sports.

We all know about the dangers of young athletes and concussions, but it's not just the injury itself parents, players, and coaches should concern themselves with: it's the aftercare that's just as critical.

Charlotte Wilson, 14, has her footing again after a slight setback last year.

"When it happened a girl was running at the goal and I was playing defense," says Wilson. "As I was trying to get the ball away, her arm flung out and it hit me to the ground. It was extremely painful and I did not really want to get up at first."

Charlotte suffered a head injury synonymous with soccer and contact sports.

Doctors determined she had a concussion based on her symptoms and a look at her impact test or baseline.

"What the baseline is, is a computerized test that looks at your memory, your reaction time, and it kind of gives us a sense of where they are before a concussion, so if they get a concussion we know where they need to get back to," says Dr. Kenneth Podell.

Getting back to normal is the hardest part. Charlotte spent a couple of weeks out of school and returned part time.

Dr. Podell with Houston Methodist Hospital emphasizes a process he calls "return to learn." It's a treatment plan for patients getting over concussions.

The plan involves some modifications for school, including cutting back on assignments, taking tests and quizzes – anything that can amp up anxiety.


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