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How Do I Support Recovery From a Concussion?


Most children recover from concussion within two to four weeks. If symptoms are not gradually improving and the child is not trending toward returning to his or her normal activities by two weeks, referral to a concussion specialist is recommended. 

How do I monitor and support recovery? 

After an initial day or two of rest, support the child’s recovery by gradually introducing low-level cognitive and non-contact physical activities. Notify the concussion management team at the child’s school to begin coordinating return-to-school activities. Use the checklist below to coordinate care and support recovery for a child with a concussion.


  • Coordinating care by keeping everyone updated on a child’s progress is crucial to supporting recovery.

Visit the Resource Library to browse communication tools that empower care coordination!

Support healthy habits for recovery!


  • Concussions result in an energy crisis in the body, and food provides the energy needed to support recovery.
  • Encourage at least three meals a day, even if they normally skip a meal


  • Pay attention to signs and symptoms.
  • Suggest breaks when symptoms are increasing. 


  • Having too little water can contribute to symptoms; advocate for bringing a water bottle to school and activities that promote adequate hydration. 


  • Encourage the child to speak up if he or she is having difficulties.
  • Discuss any concerns about recovery with the child’s healthcare professional.  

Physical activity

  • Light aerobic activity has been shown to help recovery from a concussion.
  • Start with daily leisurely walks, and progress gradually, as tolerated, to a light jog or stationary cycling, as able.
  • See a healthcare professional to discuss return to sports activities. 


  • Social connection can play a big role in supporting mental wellness.
  • Encourage a friend to visit or have the child attend light social gatherings, as tolerated. 


  • Advocate for a consistent sleep schedule; aim for 10 hours of sleep a night when able.
  • If the child is having difficulty sleeping, talk to a healthcare professional. 

According to Virginia law, a child cannot return to contact or sports activity until written clearance from an appropriately licensed healthcare professional is obtained. In Virginia, this healthcare professional can be a physician (MD/DO), a nurse practitioner, a physician's assistant, a neuropsychologist, an athletic trainer, or a physical therapist. 

To learn more about supporting a return to sports activities, visit the CDC HEADS UP website.