Concussion, also known as mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), is a common injury that can be caused by a blow to the head or by a sudden jolt or shake to the head and body. While concussions are generally considered to be mild injuries, they can still have serious consequences if they are not properly managed.
One important aspect of concussion management is the return to play protocol, which outlines the steps that an individual should follow before returning to activities that could potentially lead to another concussion. The goal of the return to play protocol is to ensure that the individual has fully recovered from the concussion and is cleared to return to activity without further risk of injury.
Here are the steps that are typically included in a concussion return to play protocol:
Rest and symptom management: The first step in the return to play protocol is to allow the brain to rest and to manage any ongoing symptoms. This may include avoiding activities that could exacerbate symptoms, such as reading or using a computer, and taking medications as prescribed.
Gradual return to activity: Once symptoms have improved, the individual should begin a gradual return to activity. This may involve starting with light physical activity, such as walking or stationary cycling, and gradually increasing the intensity and duration of activity as tolerated.
Return to non-contact activity: Once the individual is able to tolerate light physical activity, they should progress to non-contact activities, such as running or swimming.
Return to full practice: If the individual is able to tolerate non-contact activities without experiencing a return of symptoms, they can progress to full practice.
Return to competition: If the individual is able to participate in full practice without experiencing a return of symptoms, they can be cleared to return to competition.
It is important to note that the return to play protocol is not a one-size-fits-all approach and may need to be modified based on the individual's specific circumstances and needs. If you have recently sustained a concussion seek out the advice of a adequately trained healthcare provider and a rehabilitation team to determine the most appropriate steps for returning to activity after a concussion.