Concussions are complex brain injuries that require the body to rest in order for proper healing to occur. Because each injury is different, the experts at UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program develop individualized care plans specific to the need of the patient.\nThe main symptoms of a concussion fall into four categories: physical, cognitive, emotional, and sleep. Within each of these categories the more common symptoms include:\n\nHeadaches\nSensitivity to light\nFeeling mentally foggy\nTrouble sleeping\nDifficulty focusing\n\nJust like your body needs rest after an injury, the brain needs to rest mentally after sustaining a concussion. One of UPMC’s concussion experts, Jonathan French, PsyD, says, “If you or your child is diagnosed with a concussion, there are academic accommodations that teachers or school administrators may put in place to assist in the student’s recovery based upon the needs of the individual student.”\nAfter an evaluation by a health care provider trained in diagnosing and treating concussions, the following are some of the academic accommodations Dr. French and his colleagues may recommended as part of the treatment process:\n\nExtension of assignment deadlines. Speed of processing and the ability to handle a full workload are often key limitations. Allow extra time for homework and class projects.\nTemporary assistance of a tutor to help with organizing and prioritizing homework assignments. Students may have substantial problems planning their studies, writing papers, and preparing for tests. A short meeting with a guidance counselor or an assigned tutor may help students prioritize their work.\nRest periods during the school day. Just 30 minutes of rest in the nurse’s office or a designated area can help lessen many students’ symptoms.\nAccommodations for over sensitivity to light or noise. Many students find themselves unable to tolerate normal levels of light or noise while recovering. Fluorescent lighting can provoke headaches. Students should try to avoid noise from cafeterias, assembly halls, or band rooms.\nExcused from certain tests. Some students are so symptomatic that postponing or staggering tests may not provide sufficient accommodations. In such cases, the most appropriate step may be to excuse students altogether from tests, specifically in classes where they were performing well before their concussion.\nExtended test-taking time. Reduced processing speed is one of the most common post-concussive symptoms. Give students extra time to finish tests.\n\nIf you have questions about these academic accommodations, please contact your concussion specialist. For more information about the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, call 412-432-3681.