Return to Play from Concussion


So you just got your bell rung and you were told that you have a “concussion”. Your next thought is “when can I go back in to play?”

Great question! What is the protocol you should follow? If you have been reading some previous posts then you know you want to avoid the dreaded “trench”.

This means that you need to avoid anything that causes you to use your eyes until your symptoms disappear.

Well unfortunately that means you need to eliminate or minimize texting, Xbox or play station, communicating with your friends on Facebook etc.

You may also have to miss a few days of school and return with some accommodations such as:  no note taking, leaving class a few minutes ahead of time to avoid crowds, no gym.
The list goes on but you need to get yourself assessed by an experienced health care professional.

At work you may have to take a few days off until the symptoms resolve or you are given some accommodation. It all depends on the symptoms you show and their severity.

One thing we do know from at least from a few studies (1, 2)  that you tend recover quicker from your physical (headaches, dizziness etc.)symptoms compared to your neurocognitive recovery ( reaction time, memory).

Baseline Testing

This is why you need to have baseline testing!

You know from reading about the trench that you want to be at least 48 hours symptom free before doing any type of exercise. Even after 48 hours you need to be guided into the type of activities you can do.

Keep in mind you want to avoid any type of contact for at least 10 days.  But does this mean you can exercise if you are 48 hours symptom free?

So here is the challenge for you – you have learned that the actual concussion lasts only 10 days but your symptoms may disappear before that. You just found out that your neurocognitive symptoms may take longer than 10 days to resolve.

What do you do?

The simplest answer is to see a concussion specialist. You cannot do this on your own. You need guidance. You need the appropriate exercises to help you with your balance issues, reading issue and treatment for headaches and “tight” muscles.

You need to keep in mind that what you are feeling and the time it takes for you to recover is going to be different. Your recovery may take two weeks, three months or some cases longer. You need to get this assessed as soon as possible!

So if you belong to sports team, play sports at school or participate in a contact sport get baseline tested! It just might be too late for this if you are already concussed and reading this…but you can pass this on to someone else to read like your Mom, Dad, teacher, coach or friend.