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Young athletes are students first, and returning to school after an injury is as important – if not more so – as returning to the field of practice or play. It is important that teachers, school nurses and school officials coordinate and monitor the treatment of injured students to be sure recovery is complete.


  • All concussions are serious.
  • Most concussions occur without loss of consciousness.
  • Recognition and proper response to concussions when they first occur can help prevent further injury.
  • When in doubt, sit them out.

Returning to School

Students who have been injured often need additional support to perform school activities during their recovery. After a concussion, teachers, nurses, counselors, school psychologists and administrators should watch for:

  • Problems paying attention or concentrating    
  • Problems remembering or learning new information
  • Longer time needed to complete tasks or assignments    
  • Greater irritability and less ability to cope with stress
  • Increased symptoms (headache or fatigue) when doing schoolwork 

The Importance of Full Recovery

Full recovery should be documented with an assessment by a healthcare professional before the student returns to a full academic schedule.

Full Recovery Definition

  • No active post-concussive symptoms (physical and cognitive) at rest or with exertion
  • Neurocognitive functioning is back to pre-injury level
  • No problems with balance or coordination
  • No other associated medical or neurological complications

Incomplete Recovery Risks

Children or teens who still have symptoms and who return to school without a plan for supporting their learning are at risk for delayed recovery and at risk for ongoing problems with learning and performance. Please consult with a healthcare professional about any child or teen’s readiness to return to school.

What Children's National Hospital Offers

The Children’s National SCORE Concussion program partners with school officials across the DC/Maryland/Virginia region to support them in recognizing and responding to concussions in their student-athletes. If you are interested in learning about concussion education or further consultation please contact us at 202-476-2429.

Frequently Asked Questions for Schools

After a concussion is diagnosed, when should my child return to school?

How do I explain my child's injury to their school?

What kind of help might my child need in school?