UMEM Educational Pearls

Category: Administration

Title: How much screen time after concussion?

Keywords: concussion recovery (PubMed Search)

Posted: 6/24/2023 by Brian Corwell, MD (Updated: 6/24/2024)
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How much screen time after concussion?

Adolescents spent more than 7 hours daily on screen time during the pandemic.

Historically, experts recommended screen time abstinence to various degrees after concussion.

Prior study: RCT of concussion patients (ages 12 to 25) found that those who abstain from screen time for the first 48 hours recovered 4.5 days sooner than those who were permitted screen time.

Population: 633 children and adolescents with acute concussion and 334 with orthopedic injuries aged 8 to 16, recruited from 5 Canadian pediatric emergency departments.

Post concussion symptoms were measured at 7 to 10 days, weekly for three months, and biweekly for three to six months post injury. Screen time was measured.

Results: Screen time was a significant predictor of post concussion symptom recovery with both parent reported somatic and self-reported cognitive symptoms.

There may be an effect of low to moderate screen time (Goldilocks effect) demonstrating that those in the 25th to 50th percentiles had less severe symptoms than those on the higher end of screen time use or those who minimally use of screens!

Low and high screen time were both associated with relatively more severe symptoms in the concussion group compared to the orthopedic injury group during the first 30 days post recovery but not after 30 days.

Conclusion: The association of early screen time with post concussion symptoms is not linear. Recommending moderation in screen time may be the best approach to clinical management.

 Children need to strike a balance between avoiding boredom, deconditioning, isolation, and  overexerting themselves physically or cognitively.



Cairncross M, al. Early Postinjury Screen Time and Concussion Recovery. Pediatrics. 2022