How does a player successfully return to play sports?

Return to Play

It is important that the player has successfully returned to school full-time before they return to play sports. Returning to play too early may result in more severe or potentially long term problems. A focus on return to learn first has been shown to lead to a quicker return to play. If the player is not a student, they should have successfully returned to cognitive aspects of work before physical activities.

The Return to Sport Communication Tool will help guide the player to return to play sports. The goal of working through the return to play stages is to increase physical activity gradually without triggering any symptoms (even very mild symptoms).

The player must be symptom free for at least 24 hours at one stage before advancing to the next one. If at any time the symptoms RE-APPEAR, then they must go back to the previous stage until they are symptom-free again for 24 hours.

If a NEW symptom appears, the player should see a doctor to be cleared to continue on the return to play stages. The return to play stages typically take 7 to 10 days for adults to complete and longer for children and adolescents.

Return to Play Communication Tool

The Return to Sport Communication Tool will help guide the player’s recovery and communicate the player's progress to coaches and physical education teachers.

Medical clearance is required before the player moves to full-contact practice (stage 5).

Red Flag Symptoms

If your player shows any of the following Red Flag Symptoms call 911 immediately.

  • Neck pain
  • Increased confusion or irritability
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Seizure or convulsion
  • Weakness in arms/legs
  • Tingling or burning in arms/legs
  • Deteriorating consciousness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Severe or increasing headache
  • Unusual behaviour change
  • Double vision