August Q&A Concussions Part 8

August 27, 2016

Every 15 seconds, someone in America has a concussion, and 1.5 million people live with traumatic brain injury every day. This month, experts from the Rochester Regional Health Concussion Program will answer questions about concussions and why seeking treatment is so important. The Rochester Regional Health Concussion Program is the region’s FIRST program to treat everyone. Concussions are not suffered by just athletes, but any child, adult, or senior can be concussed at any time.

Question #8: What is the Return to Play Protocol?

Answer: Remember, ‘When In Doubt, Sit Them Out’! Athletes should NOT return to play on the same day of injury after concussion. After the Return to Learn program (See Monday’s Q&A) has been completed, your child can consider starting the Return to Play protocol. If your child becomes symptomatic with any step throughout the Return to Play protocol, stop the activity, take the rest of the day off or wait longer if needed until your child is no longer symptomatic, then restart the Return to Play protocol at the last successfully completed step. This protocol is individualized for each athlete, but is based on the following progression.

Day 1: Can begin light aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, cycling, etc.) for 15-20 minutes at 50% maximum heart rate. Monitor for symptom recurrence and if no problems arise, progress to the next day.

Day 2: Continue light aerobic exercise with some resistance training at 75% max heart rate. Monitor for symptom recurrence and if no problems arise, progress to the next day.

Day 3: Begin sport-specific non-contact activity (skating for hockey, dribbling and shooting for basketball, stick skills for lacrosse, etc.). Monitor for symptom recurrence and if no problems arise, progress to the next day.

Day 4: Begin non-contact practice (more complex drills involving exercise, coordination, and increased cognitive load). Monitor for symptom recurrence and if no problems arise, progress to the next day.

Day 5: Return to full-contact practice. Monitor for symptom recurrence and if no problems arise, see or contact our member of the Rochester Regional Health Concussion Program treating the patient for full clearance.

The Rochester Regional Health Concussion Program is the region’s FIRST program to treat everyone. Concussions are not suffered by just athletes, but any child, adult, or senior can be concussed at any time. For more information on the Rochester Regional Health Concussion Program, visit our website.