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Return to Play Procedures After a Concussion

Treatment following a Concussion Diagnosis

Excerpt from the NCSS PREPARE Manual

The most important treatment following a concussion is absolute rest. Both physical and mental rest are extremely important components of concussion treatment. This means athlete/parent must be educated on “cognitive rest” (i.e. school work and video games are a no-no after a concussion until asymptomatic).

Allowing enough healing and recovery time following a concussion is crucial in preventing further damage.

Research suggests that the effects of repeated concussions are cumulative.

Signs and symptoms for an adolescent athlete may take longer to resolve as compared to that of a fully matured adult. A child or adolescent athlete should not begin a controlled return to play progression if they have not returned back to school successfully. Once their controlled return to play progression begins, they should be closely monitored throughout all phases of progression.

Following a concussion, there is a period of change in brain function that may last as little as 24 hours to 10 days or possibly indefinitely. During this time, the brain may be vulnerable to more severe or permanent injury. If the athlete sustains a second concussion (known as second impact) during this time period, the risk of permanent brain injury increases.Return to Play Following Concussion

Athletes should not be allowed to return on the same that day signs and symptoms of a head injury occurred. Following the resolution of symptoms, your physician will have you begin a controlled return to play program prior to fully being cleared to resume activity. It is important that the athlete be honest about how they are feeling prior to exertional progression. If the athlete reports any symptoms, they should follow the guidelines as stated by their physician. This progression back into activity should be supervised by a qualified healthcare professional, or someone identified by your physician. The athlete should be asymptomatic as they proceed from step-to-step.


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