Brain Injury and Sports

Anyone who has a head injury during a sporting event needs to immediately stop all activity and not return to play that day. Being active again before the brain returns to normal functioning increases the person’s risk of having a more serious brain injury. Every coach, player, teacher, parent, and trainer should know the symptoms of a concussion and the importance of getting medical help when a player has a head injury.

Returning to Play After a Head/Brain Injury

The decision about when a player can safely return to play must be made by a doctor. Doctors and other concussion specialists agree that a player must not return to play until symptoms are completely gone, both at rest and during exercise or exertion; children and teens have longer recovery times, so they may have to wait longer before they can return to play. Brain functions are likely disrupted for approximately 30 days after a Mild Traumatic Brain Injury. A graduated return to cognitive and general physical activity can be undertaken once there are no symptoms, but the patient should not return to activities that risk a blow to the head for at least 30 days after the initial injury. Returning to sports activity should be done only under the advice of a physician who specializes in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.