A concussion is a serious event, but you can recover fully from such an injury if the brain is given enough time to rest and recuperate. Returning to normal activities, including sports participation, is a step-wise process that requires patience, attention, and caution. Each step must take a minimum of 24 hours but could last longer, depending on the player and his or her specific situation. The Return to Sports strategy is meant to be followed after the completion of the “Return to Learn” strategy (in the case of students), meaning athletes must return to school before return to sport.
STEP 1: Symptom-limited activity. Light cognitive and physical activity can be initiated as long as they don’t worsen symptoms. Your Physiotherapist will determine when you are ready to begin the step-wise return to learn and sports strategies.
STEP 2: Light aerobic exercise. Activities such as walking or stationary cycling. The player is supervised by someone who can help monitor symptoms and signs. Duration and intensity of the aerobic exercise can be gradually increased over time if no symptoms or signs return during the exercise or the next day.
STEP 3: Sport specific activities. Activities such as skating, throwing, jumping and running can begin at step 3. There should be no Healthy Body contact or other jarring motions such as high-speed stopping.
STEP 4: Begin drills without Healthy Body contact. The time needed to progress from non-contact exercise will vary with the severity of the concussion and with the player.
Proceed to Step 5 only after medical clearance.
STEP 5: “On Field” or “On Ice” practice with Healthy Body contact, once cleared by a doctor.
STEP 6: Gameplay.
If symptoms reappear at any stage, the athlete will return to the previous stage until symptom-free for at least 24 hours.
NEVER RETURN TO PLAY IF YOU STILL HAVE SYMPTOMS! A player who returns to active play before full recovery from a concussion is at high risk of sustaining another concussion, with symptoms that may be increased and prolonged.
For more information on concussions and return to sport please visit www.proactiverehab.com or contact us by phone (705)788-1480.