Returning to the Game | Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine | Dartmouth-Hitchcock
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Returning to the Game

Your return to learn and return to play plans will be set up by a specialist in our program.

The Sports Concussion Program staff will work with you to coordinate supervision of your individualized return to learn/play plans.

The return to play program is referred to as a "graduated return to play protocol." This is a five step program to test your performance at different levels:

  • Your physical and mental symptoms will be tracked at each stage. Day one you will start with light aerobic activity that increases your heart rate, but does not involve excessive head and neck motion. If you do not feel any symptoms during activity or for the next 24 hours, then you will graduate to the next level.
  • Each day will be one notch up in exertion until you are at "full throttle" for your sport - playing at the level you normally would.
  • If you are symptom-free at that point, you will receive your return to play note. If you have symptoms along the way you will have to return to the last step of the protocol in which you were symptom-free and move up the ladder again while you are symptom-free.
  • It is important to note that this is a five step program, not a necessarily a five day program.
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