Return to play protocol for head injuries

  1. If a student athlete injures his/her head during practice or a game and
    is removed from play by the coach or athletic trainer:

    • The athletic trainer and/or nurse MUST receive a clearance note signed by a physician before allowing that student to return to physical activity. The signature of a physician’s assistant, nurse practitioner or any other medical personnel will not be accepted as per NYS law. We encourage families seeking a clearance note to return to play to visit with their family physician OR with Dr. Belasco, our district medical director.
  2. If the clearance note provided states that the student was seen by a physician and did not have a concussion, that student may return to full participation after the first 24 hour asymptomatic period.
  3. If the clearance note provided states that the student was seen and they were diagnosed with a concussion, the athletic trainer will begin the 5-day Return to Play Protocol (RTP) after the first 24-hour asymptomatic period.
  4. If at any point during the 5-day RTP process, concussion symptoms return, the student must start the RTP process over from the stage they were when the symptoms returned.
  5. Once the student successfully completes the 5-day RTP process, Dr. Belasco’s final approval is required for the student to return to full participation in athletics.

NOTE : The 5-day RTP Process will be conducted by the district’s Athletic Trainer and will include the
following progression:

  • Step 1: Light aerobic activity. Begin with light aerobic exercise only to increase an athlete’s heart rate.
    This means about 5 to 10 minutes on an exercise bike, walking, or light jogging. No weight lifting at this
  • Step 2: Moderate activity. Continue with activities to increase an athlete’s heart rate with body or head
    movement. This includes moderate jogging, brief running, moderate-intensity stationary biking,
    moderate-intensity weightlifting (less time and/or less weight from their typical routine).
  • Step 3: Heavy, non-contact activity. Add heavy non-contact physical activity, such as sprinting/running,
    high-intensity stationary biking, regular weightlifting routine, non-contact sport-specific drills (in 3
    planes of movement).
  • Step 4: Practice & full contact. Young athlete may return to practice and full contact (if appropriate for
    the sport) in controlled practice.
  • Step 5: Competition. Young athlete may return to competition.