Risk of Injury

Concussion Recovery

25 August 2022

How long does it take to recover from a concussion?

Recovery from a concussion is individualized and assessed on a case-by-case basis. Predicting recovery from a single concussion is challenging, given the unique nature of the injury. Recovery is measured by ongoing progression through the graded step-wise protocol of increasing exposure to school, physical activity, work, and social life. Progression is not based on time but based on your response (symptoms and performance) to the rehab protocol.

We know that on average school-aged students take approximately two to four weeks to fully return to all activities. Each concussion is unique – don’t compare one person’s recovery to another’s. Healing from a concussion is a process that takes patience. Rushing back to activities can make symptoms worse and recovery longer.

What can I do to recover from a concussion?

Since a concussion is a form of traumatic brain injury, it is important that individuals modify their lifestyle and activities to promote brain recovery. This includes:

  • Adequate amounts of rest
  • Adequate amounts of sleep
  • Adequate nutrition and not skipping meals
  • Keeping well hydrated
  • Avoiding activities that significantly worsen symptoms
  • Avoiding situations that can be stressful
  • No alcohol and recreational drugs
  • Strictly avoiding situations that can place the person at risk of future head injuries or concussions
  • Stay engaged. Do not isolate yourself and avoid social interactions (i.e., cocoon).

After a concussion, am I at risk of future concussions?

The vast majority of people who suffer a single concussion recover and go on to live normal lives. However, individuals who have suffered even one concussion are at risk of suffering further concussions that may occur with less force and may require longer periods of time to recover. Multiple concussions or incomplete recovery can be a risk factor for deterioration in performance (e.g., school, work), depression, and anxiety – it is therefore important that students avoid concussions and report them immediately when they do happen.