Return to Play Guidelines for Concussions
Return to Play Progression
There are five gradual steps to help safely return an athlete to play:
Baseline: No Symptoms
As the baseline step of the Return to Play Progression, the athlete needs to have completed physical and cognitive rest and not be experiencing concussion symptoms for a minimum of 24 hours. Keep in mind, the younger the athlete, the more conservative the treatment.
Step 1: Light aerobic activity
The Goal: Only to increase an athlete’s heart rate.
The Time: 5 to 10 minutes.
The Activities: Exercise bike, walking, or light jogging.
Absolutely no weight lifting, jumping or hard running.
Step 2: Moderate activity
The Goal: Limited body and head movement.
The Time: Reduced from typical routine.
The Activities: Moderate jogging, brief running, moderate-intensity stationary biking, and moderate-intensity weightlifting
Step 3: Heavy, non-contact activity
The Goal: More intense but non-contact
The Time: Close to typical routine
The Activities: Running, high-intensity stationary biking, the player’s regular weightlifting routine, and non-contact sport-specific drills. This stage may add some cognitive component to practice in addition to the aerobic and movement components introduced in Steps 1 and 2.
Step 4: Practice & full contact
The Goal: Reintegrate in full contact practice.
Step 5: Competition
The Goal: Return to competition.
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