The Penn State Health Children’s Hospital Approach to Concussion Care

Penn State Health Children’s Hospital works with the Pediatric Concussion Program at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to treat head injuries in patients of all ages. Our care is tailored to what each individual patient needs, with providers from Sports Medicine, Pediatric Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and General Pediatrics.

Coordinated Care

Our care team works closely with injured child or teen and their families, schools, employers, coaches, athletic trainers, school nurses and referring doctors. Our goal is to help your child heal completely from a concussion. We aim to help them return to full activity as quickly and safely as possible.

Our Experts in Concussion Care

Why Choose Penn State Health Children’s Hospital for Concussion Care

Penn State Health provides only the best for your child. We are committed to delivering the highest quality treatment and support, focusing on the unique needs of your child – physical, cognitive and emotional. Our team extends beyond the medical provider, with resources such as an academic liaison and pediatric neuropsychologist. Our team also utilizes specialists from speech therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy. We consider the “whole patient” in our care.

Nationally Recognized Care

Penn State Health Children’s Hospital is routinely ranked among the best children’s hospitals in the nation due to our focus on patient care, safety and research.

Advanced Diagnostics

Our concussion experts have experience evaluating concussions in children and athletes of all ages. Testing may include:

  • Event history - we ask questions about exactly what happened before, during and after a head injury.
  • Imaging - we may use neuroimaging, such as a CAT scan or MRI, to rule out more serious brain injuries.  These tests, however, do not show the effects of a concussion, and generally are not ordered.
  • ImPACT testing - ImPACT stands for Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing. The computerized test measures memory, attention span, visual and verbal problem solving before the onset of an activity, as baseline test and then after injury to measure recovery.

Multidisciplinary Team Approach

Concussion care for children or adolescents must combine the expertise of a multidisciplinary team for diagnosis, treatment and ongoing health management of head injuries. Our team of experts in the evaluation and treatment of head injuries includes physicians from neurology, neurosurgery, pediatrics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, sports medicine, surgery, and speech, physical and occupational therapy.

Conditions Treated

Penn State Health Children’s Hospital concussion program provides care for brain injuries including:

  • Car accident
  • Concussion
  • Impact injury

Tips for Recovery

Relative Rest

"Relative Rest" is very important after a concussion. It helps the brain heal. Ignoring your symptoms and trying to "tough it out" often makes symptoms worse, and may prolong recovery time.  

Healing takes time, so be patient. Your doctor will help you decide when you should return to work, school or other activities. If your symptoms come back or you notice new symptoms as you become more active, this is a sign that you are pushing yourself too hard.  

As the days go by, most people gradually begin to feel better.

Tips to help you get better:

  • Get plenty of sleep at night and rest during the day.
  • Avoid activities that are physically demanding (e.g., sports, working-out) or require a lot of concentration (e.g., sustained computer use, video games).
  • Ask your doctor when you can begin to safely return to your usual activities.

Returning to regular activity

After you’ve had a concussion, you may have a higher chance of having another concussion. In Your recovery phase should include  being symptom-free:

  • At rest
  • With full cognitive activities (such as school and work)
  • With full physical activities (such as sports, working and driving)

Resources for parents

As a parent, you play a big role in your child’s recovery from a concussion. You can best watch your child symptoms. Tell your child’s doctor about any changes. See the links below for more details.

Support Groups

Support groups provide children and their families an opportunity to connect with others in similar situations. Learn more about the support groups offered at Penn State Health Children’s Hospital.

View All Support Groups