Home » Athletics » Concussion Guidelines & Procedures

Concussion Guidelines & Procedures


Concussion education will be provided for all administrators, teachers, coaches, school nurses, and guidance counselors. Education of parents will be accomplished through preseason meetings for sports and/or information sheets provided to parents. The protocols will cover all students returning to school after suffering a concussion regardless if the accident occurred outside of school or while participating in a school activity.

Concussion Management Protocol

Return to Play

Return to play following a concussion involves a stepwise progression once the individual is symptom free. There are many risks to premature return to play including: a greater risk for a second concussion because of a lower concussion threshold, second impact syndrome (abnormal brain blood flow that can result in death), exacerbation of any current symptoms, and possibly increased risk for additional injury due to alteration in balance. These NYSPHSAA current returns to play recommendations are based on the most recent international expert opinion. * No student athlete should return to play while symptomatic. Students are prohibited from returning to play the day the concussion is sustained. If there is any doubt as to whether a student has sustained a concussion, it should be treated as a concussion. Once the student athlete is symptom free at rest for 24 hours and has a signed release by the treating clinician, she/he may begin the return to play progression below (provided there are no other mitigating circumstances).

Day 1: Light aerobic activity
Day 2: Sport-specific activity
Day 3: Non-contact training drills
Day 4: Full contact practice
Day 5: Return to play

Each step should take 24 hours so that an athlete would take approximately one week to proceed through the full rehabilitation protocol once they are asymptomatic at rest and with provocative exercise. If any post concussion symptoms occur while in the stepwise program, then the student should drop back to the previous asymptomatic level and try to progress again after a further 24-hour period of rest has passed.

These NYSPHSAA return to play recommendations are based on the most recent international expert opinion.

View NYSED’s Guidelines for Concussion Management in Schools.