Can I Return to Playing Football Right After a Concussion?

Dr. Matthew Pecci discusses the progressive approach to concussion recovery for football athletes.

Question: Can I return to playing football right after a concussion?

Answer: The short answer to your question is No. Return-to-play after a concussion, just like most injuries, requires a progression. Even though you may not have symptoms, your brain may still be recovering. You should introduce activities slowly, starting with less jarring activities – such as station bike, then running with increasing intensity, non-contract football drills, and finally controlled contract before allowing you to return to a competitive game. If you have any return of symptoms during this progression, it indicates that your brain is still recovering.

Trying to return to activity before your brain has recovered will cause your symptoms to return or intensify. They may even last longer than your original concussive symptoms. So, when your concussive symptoms have cleared, it is best to consult with a sports medicine doctor or athletic trainer who will help guide you on safe progression back to activity.

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