How Long Does a Concussion Last?
This information is provided only as a non-medical resource for people who may have recently suffered an injury that is causing symptoms consistent with those displayed by patients with a diagnosed concussion. It is not medical advice, and should
not prevent you from seeking proper medical attention. Pure Hockey does not encourage self-diagnosis, self-treatment, or deferring proper medical examinations in any circumstance. If you believe you may have suffered an injury, please consult a doctor for a comprehensive medical evaluation.
After a hockey player suffers a concussion and begins treatment, the big question on most people's minds is, how long will the concussion last? The answer to that question is different in each case and the concussion recovery time can range from
a couple of days to months or longer, according to Cornell Health, which is part of Cornell University.1
Average Recovery Time Following Concussion
A variety of factors can affect the length of time it takes to recover from a hockey concussion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.2 But it's hard to come up with precise guidelines for recovery
time because every concussion is different. Most symptoms will emerge within the first seven to ten days, and resolve within three months, although they can last for a year or more. In about 10 to 20 percent of cases, concussion symptoms can last
months. For example, a hockey player's headaches and dizziness may clear within days, but issues with balance may take longer to resolve.
What Issues Affect Concussion Recovery Time?
A hockey player's age, how many previous concussions the player may have suffered, the severity of the brain injury, what part of the brain is injured, and the player's health before the injury can each affect the length of recovery time. According
to the Brain Injury Association, if syptoms don't subside in two to three weeks, or they worsen, then additional care must be considered.3
Younger and older hockey players take longer in general to recover from an impact. But young players tend to see symptoms subside quicker, with symptoms typically resolving in two to three weeks on the long end. Older players generally experience
the slowest recovery. Conventional wisdom suggests the more severe the injury, the longer the recovery. But that isn't always the case, as the player who suffers a long recovery time isn't always the victim of the most severe impact. A person
with previous concussions is more easily injured and tends to take longer to recover each time. And in some cases most symptoms will resolve while one or two remain, delaying a player's return to the ice. A person who suffers from anxiety or depression
or other pre-existing medical conditions may find the recovery slower, as well.
Rest is Key to Recovery Time After a Concussion
Resting the brain is key to recover, according to the BIA.4 While many factors can affect the length of time it takes to recover from a concussion, the one thing you can control is rest. The ability to sleep well at night
and rest during the day is an important part of your recovery. According to the CDC,5 healing takes time and the only thing you can do to speed up the process is to ensure your brain and body are well rested following
a head injury. Return to school or work when the doctor tells you it's OK, but if your symptoms return or worsen, then it's too soon.
What is Post-Concussion Syndrome?
While most hockey players who are treated for a concussion recover within a week or two, some experience symptoms that may take months to resolve. According to the Mayo Clinic,6 post-concussion syndrome occurs when various
symptoms last for weeks or even months following the injury. A player may suffer headaches, dizziness, or other symptoms for an extended period of time. But contrary to what you might expect, the onset of longer-term recovery doesn't seem to be
related to the severity of the initial injury. So it's possible to sustain a relatively minor impact yet suffer long-term symptoms.