Athletes With Concussions Shouldn’t Play the Same Day

Updated guidelines discourage athletes from returning to sports the same day as a concussion

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Robert Carlson, M.D

(RxWiki News) Athletes often like to convey the image that they’re rough, tough, and can play through any injury. However, that may not be such a good idea.

According to updated guidelines summarized in Neurosurgery — the official journal of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons — any athlete, regardless of age or competition level, who is diagnosed with a concussion shouldn’t be allowed to resume play on the same day.

"Check with your doctor before returning to sports after concussion."

The study was led by Allen K. Sills, MD, associate professor of neurological surgery at Vanderbilt Medical Center in Franklin, Tennessee.

There is little evidence about resting after concussions, but the statement urges athletes to rest physically and mentally for 24 to 48 hours after a concussion. Then athletes can gradually return to their normal activities. An athlete’s exact day of return to play should be made on an individual basis by his doctor.

In the past, athletes who were older and professionals were possibly allowed to return to their sport the same day if their concussions symptoms went away quickly.

According to the study, concussion leads to the fast onset of short-lived impaired neurological function — which resolves on its own in 7 to 10 days for 80 to 90 percent of concussions. It may take longer in children and adolescents, and some people may still have symptoms after concussions.

The report is the fourth to be sponsored by the Concussion in Sport Group (CSIG), an expert panel of five international sports governing bodies. Since 2000, CSIG has met every four years to update the diagnosis, management, and treatment policies guidelines for sports-related concussions.

The authors didn't disclose any personal, financial, or institutional ties.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
December 5, 2013
Last Updated:
December 6, 2013