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Concussions Can Cause Academic Problems for Students, Especially in High School

​After suffering from a concussion, students can experience a variety of post-concussion symptoms, some of which can impact academic learning and performance. A new study, “Academic Effects of Concussion in Children and Adolescents,” in the June 2015 Pediatrics (published online May 11), provides evidence of concussion’s effects on students, including increased concerns with their ability to learn and perform in school and the types of academic effects they experience. In the study, 349 students ages 5-18 and their parents reported on academic difficulties and problems after sustaining a concussion. The student’s level of post-concussion symptoms had a direct relationship to the extent of academic effects. Eighty-eight percent of symptomatic students reported school problems due to headaches, fatigue and concentration issues, while 77 percent reported issues related to reduced academic skills such as spending more time on homework, difficulty taking notes and studying. High school students report greater adverse academic effects than younger students, although students at all levels report academic challenges on various classes (math being the most challenging). A higher number of reported academic problems appears to be related to the greater academic demands in high school. Study authors conclude that symptomatic students who sustain concussions need academic supports during recovery. It is necessary for healthcare personnel to define the student’s individual post-concussion symptoms and needs, and communicate them to the school. In order to expedite recovery, schools must be prepared to support recovering students based on their explicit needs.

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The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 62,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.

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