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New Study Shows Benefit of Cognitive Rest

Rosemarie:It is difficult to study the effects of rest as a treatment for concussion because you can't tell one group of concussed athletes to rest and the other group to not rest but to continue playing in contact sports while they are symptomatic. The research design of this study looked at athletes who in a sense served as their own controls, they had not complied with rest initially.

Unfortunately, there is so much pushback to the idea of resting after a concussion because we live such outrageously hurried, busy lives that are technologically and electronically bombarded each day. Years ago, there were no computers, no video games, no cell phones, no texting. TV had a limited number of channels in black and white that were not on 24 hours a day. Moms were not sports taxis and kids stayed home after school and on weekends. Homework was reasonable, and missing school was not perceived as jeopardizing your chances of getting into Harvard. Friday night tykes did not exist. We rested on Sundays and lived "unplugged" lives. Brains had time to rest and recover naturally. This is a no-brainer...rest is a good thing."

There is still so much we don't know about the use of rest for concussion treatment. How much rest? What kind of rest? Who benefits from rest? When should exercise be introduced? What are the emotional consequences of rest?


Johna: While the study has limitations, which the authors lay out nicely in the paper, this study does certainly highlight the importance of guided and supervised rest in the recovery process following concussion. Future research should build off of studies such as this to include prospective designs across multiple study sites, adequate control groups and additional, perhaps functional outcome measures.