Being Strict with Return-to-Play Guidelines

An athlete should never be returned to play after a concussion until all symptoms have been resolved and he or she has been cleared by a licensed provider.

See more videos with Dr. Julian Bailes.

We normally say it takes about a week to recover from a mild concussion, but we know that no two concussions are alike. [Julian Bailes, MD NorthShore Neurological Institute] and the athletes that are experiencing them may have different manifestations. So, generally a week. But, the most important thing that everyone involved with an injured athlete needs to remember is that you never send he or she back into a game if they are still symptomatic or practice. So they have to have all the symptoms resolved. Many times there is more to the picture-- there may be brain scans, there may be neuropsychological testing that adds to the input of data to make that decision. But that's the number one thing that anyone around an athlete-- whether it's a parent at home, or a coach on the sideline-- is that if, they suspect a concussion, they're pulled out and evaluated. If a concussion is diagnosed, or really felt to have occurred, they don't go back in. And secondly, there is a return to play question. And they don't return to play until all symptoms have resolved, and ordinarily until they have been cleared by a licensed health care provider.
Posted on BrainLine April 16, 2012.

Produced by Noel Gunther, Brian King, and Michael Yoswa, BrainLine.

About the author: Julian Bailes, MD

Julian Bailes, MD is a founding member of the Brain Injury Research Institute and professor and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery, West Virginia University School of Medicine. He is a recognized leader in the field of neurosurgery and the impact of brain injury on cognitive function.

Julian Bailes