After A Concussion, When Can Your Child Play?

A concussion can be caused by a blow, bump or jolt to the head, or by any fall or hit that jars the brain. Once your child has been diagnosed with the injury, how will you know if they are ready to return?

According to SmartTeams, there are three stages to recovery:

Stage 1: Complete physical and cognitive rest

Stage 2: Light activity, such as walking, swimming, or stationary biking. No sports training.

Stage 3: Once your child is symptom-free through a full day of school, and can tolerate light aerobic activity, they can resume sport-specific training such as light jogging/running, throwing a baseball and kicking a soccer ball. There should be absolutely no head-impact activities.

Stage 4: When your child can tolerate sport-specific exercise, they may try non-contact drills and heavier, non-contact physical exercise such as sprinting and weightlifting.

Stage 5: At this point, with your doctor’s approval and a coach’s observation, your child can resume normal activity. Students must be evaluated and cleared (in writing) to play by a medical professional, as determined by your school district.


If your child has suffered a concussion, stick to these guidelines:

  • Players should not practice or play until completely symptom-free.
  • No return to play the same day as the injury, regardless of competitive level.
  • Be aware of the athlete’s concussion history and previous injuries.

If during recovery you see any of the following symptoms, call 911:

  • Seizures
  • Confused, restless or agitated state
  • Impaired consciousness
  • Difficult to arouse or unable to awaken
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Bloody or clear fluid from the nose or ears
  • Weakness/tingling in the arms or legs

Leading experts recommend that children and adolescents take a minimum of three weeks to rest before returning to sports after a concussion. It may seem like forever to your athlete—and even to you. But when it comes to concussion safety, you must focus on the long term. Your child’s full recovery and future health depend on it.

Janis Meredith is a family life coach who wants to help all parents raise champions. You can find out more at

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