After an athlete sustains a concussion they may be required to complete a return to play program in order to ensure they can safely return to their sport. This occurs in all levels of sports from recreational sports for young kids to collegiate level athletes.
After seeing a neurologist a person with a concussion may be referred to a physical therapist. Physical therapists are trained in managing many of the symptoms that occur after a concussion which may include neck pain, balance deficits, vestibular disturbances, pain and stiffness.
Once acute symptoms have subsided a physical therapist will lead the athlete through a sport specific return to play program in order to determine if they are physically ready to return to their pre-concussion level of activity. This program consists of a variety of aerobic, resistance, balance and sport specific activates that challenge the athlete in a progressive manner.
After the athlete successfully completes the return to play program their therapist will recommend to their neurologist that they are ready to return to full activity. Once this happens the athlete will return to the neurologist who will perform a re-examination and can give the final okay for the athlete to return to their sport.