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Go through the following steps to help your child return to school and sport. Your child will be ready to move on to the next step when they can do the activities and handle their symptoms well. If your child has trouble handling their symptoms, they should do the activity in the step for less time or go back to the previous step until they are ready to move to the next step. Your child can begin the Return to Sport steps at the same time they begin the Return to School steps.
Give your child support and encouragement through their recovery and as they work through these steps. Make sure your child doesn’t go too quickly and takes rest breaks when they need to. Learning how to pace activity is an important part of concussion recovery.If your child is not better after 4 weeks or isn’t ready to move on to the next step after 1 to 2 weeks, talk to your healthcare provider and ask for a referral to a pediatrician (a doctor who specializes in children’s health), a concussion specialist, or a neurologist.
Getting your child back to school will help them get back to doing regular activities again. It may take your child only a few days or up to 2 weeks to finish the steps of returning to school full time.
Step 1 – Start at-home activities
Step 2 – Going back to school
Step 3 – Near-normal routine
Step 4 – Back to school full-time
Your child can begin the Return to Sport steps at the same time they begin the Return to School steps. Your child will be ready to move on to the next Return to Sport step when they are able to do the activities and handle their symptoms well. Spend at least 1 day on each of the Return to Sport steps.
It’s important that your child has gone back to school full-time before you ask their healthcare provider to give them medical clearance for full-contact practice and game play.
If your child is part of a high-level organized sport, talk to a sports medicine doctor before they return to regular sports activities.
After 1 to 2 days of relative rest, your child can start doing regular day-to-day activities, such as reading, texting, having screen time, and light walking, as long as their symptoms don’t get worse. They can start doing 5 to 15 minutes of these activities at a time, and slowly start doing them for more time.
Step 2 – Light aerobic exercise
Step 3 – Sport-specific training and exercise
Step 4 – Drills with no contact
Step 5 – Medical clearance for full contact
Your child needs to get medical clearance from a healthcare provider with experience treating concussions before they start to do full-contact play in their sport.
Step 6 – Full-contact training and game play
Your child can start with scrimmages with teammates and work up to regular competitive games.
To see this information online and learn more, visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca/health/pages/conditions.aspx?Hwid=custom.ab_concussion_schoolsport_ac_child.
For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.
Current as of: January 14, 2023
Author: Maternal Newborn Child and Youth Strategic Clinical Network, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.