Mild Traumatic Brain Injury/Concussion: your guide to recovery

Returning to sports and physical activity after concussion

Return to sport and physical activity (walking, running, exercising) is gradual and must follow a step-wise process.

Once symptoms settle, start with light exercises such as walking or stationary cycling. You can gradually increase the intensity (how hard you push yourself) and duration (the amount of time) you are doing the exercise if you do not have symptoms during exercise or the next day.

If symptoms get worse or come back, stop and go back to the previous exercise level. It is important to know that symptoms can come later that day or even the next day, not necessarily during the activity.

If you are returning to sports or heavy exercise, there are specific guidelines to follow.

Talk your doctor or health-care provider about increasing your physical activity and the steps you need to take to safely return to sport specific activity.

Never return to sport until you are cleared by a doctor or other trained expert.

  • Remember to listen to your symptoms. If your symptoms are getting worse, it is your body's way of telling you that you are doing too much and that you are not ready to move to the next level.

  • To help you through the return-to-play process, your doctor may refer you to a specialized clinic that has experience in concussion management.

  • Check with your school, team or sports club about their return to play steps and policies. Most schools, teams and sports clubs have concussion policies that must be followed before a player can return to sport.