The Impact of Concussions on Academic Performance in Students

Concussions can have a profound effect on a student’s ability to learn, concentrate, and perform academically. The cognitive, emotional, and physical symptoms associated with concussions often interfere with the demands of schoolwork and classroom environments. At Revivo, our Toronto-based physiotherapy and neurology clinic, we recognize the challenges faced by students recovering from concussions and advocate for a supportive approach to their academic journey. This post explores the impact of concussions on academic performance and outlines strategies to support students in their return to school.

Understanding the Academic Impact of Concussions

Cognitive Challenges: Concussions can affect cognitive functions critical to learning, including memory, attention, processing speed, and executive functions. Students may find it difficult to retain new information, focus on tasks, or organize and plan their schoolwork.

Emotional and Behavioral Changes: Emotional symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, and depression can further complicate academic engagement and motivation. Behavioral changes may also arise, affecting a student’s interaction with peers and teachers.

Physical Symptoms: Headaches, dizziness, and fatigue are common physical symptoms of concussions that can diminish a student’s stamina for schoolwork and participation in class.

Strategies for Supporting Academic Performance

1. Gradual Return to School: Similar to the gradual return-to-play protocols in sports, a phased approach to reintegrating into academic life can help manage symptoms. Starting with reduced hours or a lighter course load allows students to adjust based on their symptom tolerance.

2. Individualized Accommodations: Tailored accommodations are essential to address the unique needs of each student. This may include extended time for assignments and tests, breaks during class, permission to wear sunglasses or hats to manage light sensitivity, and access to a quiet room for rest.

3. Communication with School Staff: Open communication between healthcare providers, parents, and school staff ensures that everyone is aware of the student’s needs and progress. Developing a written plan can help facilitate understanding and support from teachers and administrators.

4. Use of Assistive Technologies: Technology can offer valuable support for learning and cognition. Audio recordings of lectures, speech-to-text software, and electronic organizers can help compensate for difficulties with note-taking, memory, and organization.

5. Cognitive Rehabilitation and Tutoring: Specialized tutoring or cognitive rehabilitation therapies can address specific learning and cognitive challenges. Working with professionals trained in concussion management can provide strategies to improve cognitive functions affected by the injury.

6. Prioritizing Health and Well-being: Encouraging a balance between academic responsibilities and health can help prevent symptom exacerbation. Adequate rest, proper nutrition, hydration, and stress management practices are crucial components of recovery.

7. Monitoring and Adjusting: Regularly assessing the student’s symptoms and academic performance is vital to making necessary adjustments to accommodations and academic plans. Flexibility in academic goals and expectations can help manage the pressures faced by the student.


The impact of concussions on academic performance requires a comprehensive and compassionate approach to support the affected student. At Revivo, we are committed to providing guidance and support to students and their families navigating the academic challenges post-concussion. By implementing supportive strategies and accommodations, we can help students manage their symptoms and continue their educational pursuits with minimal disruption. Understanding and addressing the academic implications of concussions is key to fostering a successful recovery and ensuring that students do not fall behind in their studies.

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