Importance: Concussions are common among children and youth. To date, the pediatric concussion literature has focused on quantitative reports of the effects of concussion and return-to-activity guidelines. However, the subjective experiences of children and youth returning to occupations postconcussion have largely been ignored. An understanding of these experiences is critical to inform effective concussion management.
Objective: To investigate the experiences of children and youth returning to occupations after sustaining a concussion and the impacts on their future engagement in occupation.
Design: Qualitative interpretive description was used for data analysis and interpretation.
Participants: Children and youth ages 11 to 18 yr from a cohort study were recruited to be interviewed about their experiences of engaging in occupations postconcussion.
Outcomes and Measures: Interviews were conducted 3 to 24 mo postconcussion, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed using interpretive description to identify themes.
Results: Eight children and youth (5 male, 3 female) were included. Analyses revealed three themes of the experiences of children and youth returning to occupations after concussion: diverse experiences of concussion, knowledge is key to concussion management, and concussions affect occupational engagement.
Conclusions and Relevance: This study highlights the importance of considering a person’s needs to enable effective concussion treatment plans. The results suggest the need for an occupation-based framework to guide interventions in pediatric concussion management.
What This Article Adds: Our findings indicate that children and youth report variable recovery patterns, a lack of knowledge about concussion recovery, and a negative effect of concussion on occupational engagement.