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10 Ways to Support Someone with Post-Concussion Syndrome

What is Post-Concussion Syndrome


Post-concussion syndrome, is defined as the collective experience of symptoms after sustaining a concussion, such as headaches, fatigue, depression, anxiety and irritability [1]. Post-concussion syndrome is also sometimes referred to as ‘persistent post-concussive symptoms’, especially in cases where concussion symptoms do not resolve and last longer than expected after sustaining the injury.

10 Ways to Support Someone with Post-Concussion Syndrome


1. Educate yourself: Learn about post-concussion syndrome, its symptoms, and its impact on daily life. Understanding the condition will help you empathize with the person's experiences and challenges.


2. Be patient and understanding: Post-concussion syndrome can lead to various cognitive and emotional challenges. Be patient and offer understanding when they experience difficulties with memory, concentration, mood swings, or fatigue.


3. Encourage rest and recovery: Encourage the person to rest and avoid activities that may worsen their symptoms. Allow them to take breaks as needed and respect their need for downtime.


4. Help with daily tasks: Offer assistance with daily chores, errands, and other tasks when necessary. Post-concussion syndrome can make even simple tasks overwhelming, so your help will be greatly appreciated.


5. Provide emotional support: Listen to their feelings and concerns without judgment. Let them express their frustrations and fears, and be there as a compassionate and supportive listener.


6. Accommodate their needs: Be flexible and willing to adjust plans or environments to accommodate their symptoms. For example, reducing noise or avoiding crowded places can be helpful.


7. Support medical treatment: Encourage them to follow their healthcare professional's recommendations and attend follow-up appointments. Offer to accompany them to appointments if they need assistance.


8. Encourage a gradual return to activities: Help them create a plan for gradually reintroducing activities and responsibilities, while respecting their limits. This approach can aid in the recovery process.


9. Promote a healthy lifestyle: Encourage them to maintain a balanced diet, get regular exercise (within their doctor's guidelines), and engage in stress-reducing activities like meditation or yoga.


10. Connect with support groups: Encourage them to join support groups or online communities where they can connect with others facing similar challenges. Sharing experiences with others who understand can be beneficial.


Remember that post-concussion syndrome is a complex condition, and each person's experience can differ. Tailor your support to the individual's needs and preferences while fostering an environment of care, understanding, and patience. If their symptoms seem severe or persist, always encourage them to seek professional medical advice and support.


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Daniel Glassbrook, PhD


Daniel is a sports scientist and researcher, previously working as the first team sports scientist for the Newcastle Falcons Rugby Club, and a postdoctoral researcher in sports related concussion at Durham University.


References


1. McInnes, K., Friesen, C. L., MacKenzie, D. E., Westwood, D. A., & Boe, S. G. (2017). Mild Traumatic Brain Injury (mTBI) and chronic cognitive impairment: A scoping review. PloS one, 12(4), e0174847.

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