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Can You Swim After a Concussion?

Jun 4th, 2024

Concussions are a prevalent brain injury in sports, and swimming is no exception. Due to the high-impact nature of some aquatic activities, swimmers—especially children—are not immune to experiencing these traumatic brain injuries. When is it okay to start swimming again after a concussion, and how can you prevent aggravating the injury? Understanding the implications of concussions and the necessary precautions is essential for ensuring a safe return to the water.


Understanding Concussions

A concussion occurs when a blow or jolt to the head disrupts normal brain function. Symptoms can range from mild to severe, including headaches, dizziness, confusion, and even loss of consciousness. In young swimmers, recognizing the signs of a concussion can be challenging, making it vital for parents and coaches to monitor athletes closely after any head injury.


How to Resume Swimming Post-Concussion

Swimming requires coordination, balance, and concentration—all of which can be negatively affected by a concussion. Entering the water too soon not only could aggravate the concussion itself but possibly result in drowning risks. Therefore, it’s important not to rush the return to the pool or the lake. Here’s a step-by-step approach to ensure a safe comeback:

  • Complete Rest: Initially, complete rest is advised until all concussion symptoms have subsided. Depending on the individual, this period may vary from a few days to weeks. Before resuming any swimming activity, obtain clearance from a healthcare provider.
  • Light Activities: Start with light aerobic exercises such as walking or stationary cycling. These activities help gauge the swimmer’s tolerance for exertion without risking further injury.
  • Supervised Swimming: Once cleared for water activities, reintroduce swimming under close supervision. Begin with easy laps at a slow pace, avoiding diving and flip turns.
  • Monitor Symptoms: Continuously monitor for any recurring symptoms. If dizziness, headaches, or other symptoms return, stop the activity immediately and consult a healthcare provider.


Additional Safety Tips for Swimming Post-Concussion

  • Avoid Solo Swims: Always swim with a buddy or under supervision to ensure immediate help is available if needed.
  • Hydration and Nutrition: Proper hydration and nutrition support overall recovery and maintain energy levels during training.
  • Protective Gear: Use protective headgear where possible, especially in high-impact water sports or where collisions are likely.
  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to what your body tells you. Rest when needed and avoid pushing through discomfort.


If you or a loved one suffers a swimming-related concussion or other injury that is caused by someone else’s carelessness, you may be entitled by law to receive compensation to help with the costs of recovery. Call our law offices to schedule a consultation.