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September 7, 2021

A Definitive Answer to the Effect of Screen Time on Concussion Recovery

Author Affiliations
  • 1Seattle Children’s Research Institute, Seattle, Washington
  • 2Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, Seattle
JAMA Pediatr. 2021;175(11):1105-1107. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2021.2779

The issue of screen time in concussion management has been debated for more than 2 decades, camouflaged in guidelines regarding cognitive rest and lacking specifics regarding the extent to which screen time should be limited and the duration of these limitations.1 The most common guidelines for concussion management published by the Concussion in Sport Group in 2017 do not mention the word screen and acknowledge the lack of evidence for any form of cognitive rest, stating, “The basis for recommending physical and cognitive rest is that rest may ease discomfort during the acute recovery period by mitigating post-concussion symptoms and/or that rest may promote recovery by minimizing brain energy demands post-concussion. There is currently insufficient evidence that prescribing complete rest achieves these objectives.”2(p842) Even the most recent pediatric guidelines, based on the consensus of experts and supported by funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, do not explicitly mention limiting screen time, likely because of the lack of substantial research addressing screen use among youths with concussion.3

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