Concussion: When Can I Return to Sport?

By Grant Uyemura, DPT Student

A concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) that occurs when a head impact jars or shakes the brain inside the skull. This can damage neural pathways, which can lead to neurological disturbances. Symptoms can affect your physical, cognitive, behavioral, and emotional well-being.

Physical signs such as headaches, dizziness, sleep disturbances, nausea, vomiting, noise & light sensitivity, loss of consciousness.

Cognitive signs are confusion, slow reaction time, memory problems, poor judgement, inability to focus.

Behavioral changes may be confrontational demeanor, explosive temper fearfulness, impatient, hypervigilance.

Emotional changes such as depression, agitation, irritability, anxiety, and frequent mood changes man also be experienced. 90% of diagnosed concussions do not involve loss of consciousness, so it is important to understand common signs and symptoms.

Return to Sport Stages

Following a concussion, it is recommended to rest for 24-48 hours before starting stage
1 of the return to sport protocol. If the athlete is able to complete the stage without concussion related symptoms, then they can progress to the next stage. There should be at least 24 hours for each step of the progression. At minimum, it would take athletes 1 week to proceed through the full rehabilitation protocol before returning to play.

img_2534 Blog post written by Grant Uyemura, DPT Student from University of St. Augustine. At the time of publishing Grant was in a clinical rotation with me at Catz PTI.

References:

1. McCrory P, Meeuwisse W, Dvorak J, et al Consensus statement on concussion in sport—the 5 th  international conference on concussion in sport held in Berlin, October 2016 Br J Sports Med Published Online First: 26 April 2017. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2017- 097699

2. Parker M, Lecture presented: Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, How to Identify and Treat
Concussions with Compassion at the University of Saint Augustine for Health Sciences, San Marcos, CA.

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