Chris G. Koutures, MD, FAAP Pediatric and sports medicine specialist

Please Check Our New Brand and Website:

Comprehensive blend of general pediatric and sport medicine care with an individualized approach that enhances the health and knowledge of patients and their families



Proud physician:
USA Volleyball Mens/Womens National Teams
CS Fullerton Intercollegiate Athletics
Chapman University Dance Department
Orange Lutheran High School

Co-Author of Acclaimed Textbook

Pediatric Sports Medicine: Essentials for Office Evaluation

Orange County Physician Of Excellence, 2015 and 2016


15-20 Minute Blocks of Activity: A Guideline for Post-Concussion Recovery

In the midst of the usual complexities of recovering from a sports-related concussion, I have found that one simple mantra of "re-start activity in 15-20 minutes blocks" can be an anxiety reducing guideline..

Looking to return to homework or other school-based activities?

Start with 15-20 minute blocks.

How much can I spend on my phone?

Start with 15-20 minute blocks.

As we discover that absolute rest and removal from usual duties might be counter-productive to recovery, the counter-concern over returning with too much activity, too quickly, or too soon is valid. 

Enter the 15-20 minute block recommendation.

When to start?

Usually within a few days after a concussion, and I will counsel patients that at a "good part" of the day where headaches or other symptoms are at a lower point, they should select one activity to start in a quiet room without other stimulation (loud music, bright outdoor light, texts on phone, etc). 

While most young people would immediately select their phone, the usual first choice is light reading from a book or magazine rather than a computer screen. 

Set a timer for 15-20 minutes, and once that period passes, stop all activity and take a break.

If successful, try another 15-20 minute block of similar activity again later in the day, and if that goes well, can increase to 20-30 minute blocks the next day.

Don't advise going past the "max" time recommendation. Better to finish "early" without symptoms than to muscle forward, develop a headache, and suffer a setback.

For those trying to decide when to return to school, have found that being able to complete 20-30 minute blocks of work 2-3 times a day is a minimum criteria for considering a partial (likely half-day) return to the classroom.

Once able to do at least 2 blocks of activity per day, can add a block of more "fun" which might include cell phone use, texting, appropriate surfing of internet, music, or even some relatively light video game play.

If unable to get through that initial 15-20 minute block of time due to headache or other symptoms showing up, don't despair.

Take the rest of that day off, and try the next day, again maximizing chances with success by ensuring a quiet distraction-free environment, good food and fluid intake, and hopefully after some restorative sleep.

If a few days of attempting the 15-20 minute activity blocks lead to more failure, then do not hesitate to contact your medical provider for more specific tips and further recommendations.