Monday, November 21, 2011

When is it Right to Return to Play?

The comeback of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins began last night when he took to the ice for the first time since suffering a concussion against Tampa Bay on January 5.  Now the poster child for concussions, Crosby, recognized as the best player in the world, actually suffered two hits to the head just four days apart and went on to miss 61 regular season games and the playoffs. At times it takes a high profile all-star player like Crosby to bring the seriousness of a condition like concussions from the shadows and into the limelight, doing everyone a favour in the long run. The concussion education that has been gained over the past year has provided much needed awareness to athletes, coaches, administrators, parents, teachers, fans, media and sponsors.  SIRC's Concussion Resource page compiles  the latest and relevant resources on concussion in sport, where everything from research articles to assessment tools to youth videos can be found.

According to ThinkFirst and the Return to Play guidelines, there is an order of activities that the concussed patient must follow and be symptom-free before moving on to the next step. If symptoms re-occur, the patient must return to the previous stage until the symptoms are gone.
  1. No activity, only complete rest.
  2. Light aerobic exercise, such as walking or stationary cycling.
  3. Sport specific activities, such as skating, throwing, jumping, running, etc. can begin.
  4. Drills without body contact.
  5. Game play.

Anyone can suffer from a concussion on the ice rink, the playground, the basketball court or the ski hill. The same guidelines must be followed as it is very important to never return to play while still experiencing symptoms of a concussion. It is of vital importance that concussion management include cognitive and mental function, not just any physical demands, in order to achieve the proper recovery.

For more information on concussions and return to play guidelines, please read SIRC's
latest Newsletter on concussions.

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