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5 Step Return to Play

Return to Play Progression

Baseline (Step 0): As the baseline step of the Return to Play Progression, the athlete needs to have completed physical and cognitive rest and not be experiencing concussion symptoms for a minimum of 24 hours.  Keep in mind, the younger the athlete, the more conservative the treatment.

Step 1: Light Aerobic Exercise

The Goal: only to increase an athlete’s heart rate.

The Time: 5 to 10 minutes.

The Activities: exercise bike, walking, or light jogging.

Absolutely no weight lifting, jumping or hard running.

Step 2:
Moderate Exercise

The Goal: limited body and head movement.

The Time: Reduced from typical routine

The Activities: moderate jogging, brief running, moderate-intensity stationary biking, and moderate-intensity weightlifting

Step 3: Non-contact Exercise

The Goal: more intense but non-contact

The Time: Close to Typical Routine

The Activities: running, high-intensity stationary biking, the player’s regular weightlifting routine, and non-contact sport-specific drills. This stage may add some cognitive component to practice in addition to the aerobic and movement components introduced in Steps 1 and 2.

Step 4: Practice

The Goal: Reintegrate in full contact practice.

Step 5: Play

The Goal: Return to competition

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