After a concussion: Can I exercise?

27 February 2016
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Category: First Aid
27 February 2016, Comments: 0

A concussion is considered as a mild head injury but it has the potential to be a serious one. This injury occurs once the soft tissue of the brain strikes the skull. The consequence might be a momentary alteration in the way the brain responds to certain stimuli. Most cases only require a temporary recovery and the individual can resume his/her exercise routine after 24 hours of proper rest if there are no severe symptoms present. A doctor should be consulted if an individual is suspected with a concussion.

Severity of a concussion

The instructions given by the doctor depends on the severity of the concussion. In some cases, they are not threatening that the individual can resume any physical activity after a short period of rest and monitoring period while others require admission at the hospital.

Concussions can be categorized into 2 groups – simplex and complex. A simple concussion can also cause short-term effects while complex cases can cause lasting effects on memory or result to loss of consciousness or seizure.


Before the individual can resume his/her exercise routine, he/she has to undergo proper assessment by a doctor. Once the head is struck while exercising or playing a sport, it is essential to be evaluated for indications of a complex concussion. Some of the typical signs of a concussion include the following:

  • Momentary loss of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Balance problems
  • Blurry vision

The doctor will check if an increase in the blood pressure worsens or triggers the return of the concussion symptoms. The recovery period usually depends on the assessment by the doctor.


If an individual sustained a concussion, he/she should stop any physical activity.

Immediate after care

If an individual sustained a concussion, he/she should stop any physical activity. Even if he/she feels fine, the brain is in serious danger if another injury occurs before it is given enough time to recovery first.

The individual should sit down and rest and then seek medical care. It is likely that the doctor will recommend rest for 24 hours while the consciousness is being monitored. After the 24-hour period, another assessment is performed before cleared for exercise.

Light activity

Once the individual has been cleared by the doctor to resume physical activity, it is vital to progress steadily toward full mobility. Start a routine with low-impact exercises such as swimming or walking which has no risk for contact or falls.

As long as symptoms do not arise, the individual can progress to sports-related activities and eventually contact sports as long as allowed by the doctor.

When resuming exercise, the individual should continuously assess the body for any symptoms that has not yet fully healed. The repetitive indications include bloody nose or ears. If the individual feels nauseous, confused or loses sight or feeling in other parts of the body, these might indicate a severe brain injury that requires immediate medical attention.

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