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"Stepwise" Return to Play Recommended For Athletes with Concussions

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If an athlete has been sidelined by a concussion for several weeks or longer, Dr. Robert Cantu recommends that he follow a "stepwise" approach to return to play:

  1. No activity, complete rest (for youth athletes, complete rest includes cognitive rest, i.e. no school, homework, video games, Internet or text messaging). Once an athlete is completely symptom free, proceed to step 2;

  2. Light aerobic exercise such as walking or stationary cycling, no resistance training;

  3. Sport specific training (i.e. skating in hockey, running in soccer);

  4. Non-contact training drills;

  5. Full contact training, ideally only after clearance by a medical doctor;

  6. Game play.

  7. If any post-concussion symptoms reoccur, drop back to previous asymptomatic level and try to progress again after 24 hours.

 

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