6 Step Return to Play
The return to play process is gradual, and begins after a doctor has given the
player clearance to return to activity. If any symptoms/signs return during this
process, the player must be re-evaluated by a physician. No return to play if
any symptoms or signs persist. Remember, symptoms may return later that day
or the next, not necessarily when exercising!
Step 1: No activity, only complete mental and physical rest. Proceed to
step 2 only when all symptoms are gone. This includes avoiding both mental
and physical stress.
Step 2: Light aerobic exercise, such as walking or stationary cycling.
Monitor for symptoms and signs. No resistance training or weight lifting.
Note: Players MUST receive clearance from a physician BEFORE returning to the ice
Step 3: Sport specific activities and training (e.g. skating).
Step 4: Drills without body contact. May add light resistance training and
progress to heavier weights.
The time needed to progress from non-contact to contact exercise will vary
with the severity of the concussion and the player. Go to step 5 after medical
clearance. (reassessment and note)
Note: Players MUST receive clearance for Contact from a physician BEFORE returning to Contact Drills
Step 5: Begin drills with body contact.
Step 6: Game play. (The earliest a concussed athlete should return to play
is one week).
Note: Players should proceed through return to play steps only when they
do not experience symptoms or signs and the physician has given clearance.
Each step should be a minimum of one day. If symptoms or signs return, the
player should return to step 1, and be re-evaluated by a physician.
Never return to play if symptoms persist!
Concussed Players Must be Cleared by their Physician
AND the Association Head Trainer BEFORE returning to Game Play.