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
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
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.