A couple of weeks ago, eight-year-old Liam Ramsay-Leavitt of Martinez, Calif., was swinging on the monkey bars at school. “And then I just fell on my side,” he says. “I was kind of dizzy and I had an achy head.”
It turns out that he had a concussion.
The doctor said he had to miss school for a week — there’d be no homework (he didn’t mind that too much) but also no reading, no recess, no video games, no chess club, no activity. “I would just say it’s really boring,” Ramsay-Leavitt says. “And disappointing.”
“It was hard,” attests his mom, Michelle Ramsay-Leavitt. “Especially with his energy level. After about three days, I did end up asking the doctor if he could go to school and just kind of sit.”
Their physician was following what, for almost a decade, has been the conventional wisdom on treating childhood concussions: Keep kids at home, keep them in a dark room with no screens and minimal stimulation, and ban any sort of physical exertion.
But in light of recent research, this month the American Academy of Pediatrics updated its guideline for treating mild brain trauma, urging physicians and parents to let kids return to school sooner, and allow them to use electronics and ease back into physical activity after just a couple of days of rest.