Summer 2012 Issue

Everyday Technology Hinders Concussion Recovery In Teens

Technology is a part of everyday life for most adolescents. Cell phones, computers, tablets, and video games hold their attention for hours each day. But for young athletes recovering from concussions, this technology is a roadblock to recovery.

"Physical and cognitive rest are essential for concussion recovery," said David Wiercisiewski, MD, director of the Sports Concussion Program at Carolina Neurosurgery & Spine Associates. "All of these technology-related activities require significant cognitive skills."

While each case can vary, adolescent boys typically take 14 to 17 days to recover from a concussion, while girls can take 21 to 24 days. Dr. Wiercisiewski has found that, due to the integration of technology, teen patients are taking longer than these benchmarks to overcome a concussion.

"It's easier to limit physical activity and there's usually not much argument when we tell them that school work will be limited," said Dr. Wiercisiewski. "But for kids who could probably text or post a Facebook status in their sleep, they don't see technology as a threat to their well-being. Instead, it's part of the fabric of their social lives. This recovery time can be an opportunity for concussion patients to unplug from their devices and reconnect with family and friends the old-fashioned way - face to face."

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