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Many Factors In Return to Play Decision

When making decision to return an athlete back to play after he or she has recovered from a sport-related concussion, doctors consider each case individually. Rather than simply looking up a standard guideline in a book, doctors take the whole clinical picture into consideration.

Factors which may help determine the amount of time an athlete is asked to remain symptom free before returning to contact or collision sports include:

  • the length of time over which the athlete had symptoms from the concussion
  • the length of time it took for the athlete to recover his or her brain function after the concussion
  • the length of time it took for the athlete to recover his or her balance after the concussion
  • the amount of brain dysfunction associated with the athlete's concussion
  • the intensity of symptoms suffered by the athlete after the concussion
  • the number of concussions the athlete has sustained over his or her lifetime
  • the amount of time that elapsed in between the athlete's concussions
  • the amount of force that was required to produce concussive brain injury in the athlete
  • whether or not the amount of force required to produce a concussion in the athlete has changed over time.
All of these factors
  • help determine the degree of injury sustained by the athlete.
  • help make decisions about how much recovery time is required for an individual athlete after a sport-related concussion.
  • play a role in decisions about when to return an athlete to contact or collision sports
  • are considered in decisions about whether or not an athlete should ever be returned to contact or collision sports.

 


Excerpted from the book, Kids, Sports and Concussions (Praeger 2011) by William P. Meehan III, M.D.

Posted July 22, 2011

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