Because their heads get battered more often than the average person, much of the research into brain injury over the last few years has focused on athletes, particularly football, soccer and hockey players.
Of course, amateur and professional athletes are not the only ones risking brain health on a regular basis. Members of the military, particularly those serving in a war zone, sustain brain injuries frequently. And treatments that seem to work in the sports world may not apply when it comes to ensuring that a traumatic brain injury victim is ready to return to combat.
An ad-hoc group called the Progressive Activity Working Group has released its recommendations for safely determining when a soldier with a TBI is ready to return to full duty. The committee combined neuroscientists and brain injury experts with representatives from the military.
Together, the scientists and military brass created a six-step procedure it says is tailor-made for injured servicemembers.
First, the victim must rest for 24 hours after a concussion. If he or she shows symptoms of TBI after the day of rest, the steps progress as follows, advancing once per day:
- Light routine activity
- Light occupational activity
- Moderate activity
- Intensive activity
- Unrestricted activity
One wonders if the treatment would be slowed down if the victim, say, is not able to perform intensive activity on Day Five. Hopefully, soldiers’ progress through the six steps will be tailored to their actual improvement, not an official expectation of being back to normal in six days.
Of course, for civilians, concussions can occur in car accidents, workplace incidents and other everyday occurrences.