DENVER (CBS4) – A Colorado psychologist’s ideas about students and concussions are the crux of a clinical report out this week from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Psychologist Dr. Karen McAvoy at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children’s Center for Concussion developed an approach for the recovery process after concussions in 2009. It suggests students who sustain concussions don’t need to be out of school for long periods. What’s important is that there’s a reduction of demand on their brains.

Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children

Kaiti Lukins at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children’s Center for Concussion (credit: CBS)

Early intervention and the team approach to managing a concussion can make all the difference in physical and cognitive recovery, McAvoy says.

Parker student Kaiti Lukins suffered a concussion in a soccer game at the beginning of September. She came to the Center for Concussion to get help with her symptoms, which included nausea, dizziness, blurry vision and headaches.

She has stayed out of sports since then but she went back to class at Ponderosa High School after two days.

“Loud noises and light and all that stuff bothered me,” she said.

Ponderosa administrators took a team approach, partnering with her doctors and parents to ease Lukins into academics.

“So I didn’t take any tests and I modified my homework,” she told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

“Did that help?” Walsh asked.

“Yeah,” Lukins said.

That’s how doctors now say “returning to learning” following a concussion should work.

MORE FROM DR. DAVE HNIDA’S BLOG: Don’t Rush Back To The Classroom After Concussion

“While the cells are trying to repair themselves, which takes about three weeks or so, we need to not rev those cells — we need to not push them too hard,” McAvoy said. “That’s the best way, the safest way to test the brain and make sure we are not pushing them too fast.”

It has worked for Lukins. She is back to speed on her schoolwork and planned to attend her first soccer practice on Tuesday.

LINK: More About Karen McAvoy


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