A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can occur from a fall, blow to the body or collision that causes the head to move quickly back and forth. 

If a concussion is suspected, the following steps will be taken:

  • Remove child from event
  • Refer to Concussion Danger Signs information sheet for immediate medical evaluation
  • Evaluate child using Concussion Checklist provided
  • Inform parent or guardian
  • Refer for medical evaluation if indicated in accordance with the Concussion Checklist
  • Continue to monitor child until child is under parental or medical supervision
  • Notify school nurse – File incident report

Return to Play Guidelines

After a concussion has been diagnosed, the following steps will be taken:

  • Documented medical clearance is required by a medical doctor and school medical director before the child may return to physical education and/or sports
  • The child should not return to physical education and /or sports until the child is totally asymptomatic including after exercise)
  • The child must complete the Return to Play Protocol provided before he or she may return to physical education and /or sports
  • The return to play protocol must be completed at school with the coach and nurse m monitoring progress

Graduated Return to Play Protocol

Rehabilitation Stage 1: No activity

  • Complete physical and cognitive rest
  • Objective: Recovery

Rehabilitation Stage 2: Light aerobic exercise

  • Walking or stationary cycling, keeping intensity less than 70 percent MPHR; no resistance training
  • Objective: Increase HR

Rehabilitation Stage 3: Sport-specific exercise

  • Running drills in soccer, volleyball, basketball and x-country; no head-impact activities
  • Objective: Add movement

Rehabilitation Stage 4: Non-contact training drills

  • Progression to more complex training drills, e.g.: passing drills in soccer and basketball; may start progressive resistance training
  • Objective: Exercise, coordination and cognitive load

Rehabilitation Stage 5: Full contact practice

  • Following medical clearance, participate in normal training activities
  • Objective: Restore confidence and assess functional skills by coaching staff

Rehabilitation Stage 6: Return to play

  • Normal game play

Resources & Guidance

NYS Fact Sheet for Parents and Caregivers “When in doubt, take them Out” (links to )

CDC Concussion Patient Information Package
(links to: )
Includes: concussion action plan, fact sheets for middle and high school athletes and coaches, informational posters, parent & athlete concussion information sheet, concussion sheet for parents

The New York State Education Department has developed guidelines for concussion management in the school setting. View the guidelines at the New York State Education Department website at

In New York State, school nurses, certified athletic trainers, coaches, and physical education teachers are mandated to complete sports concussion management training every two years. The approved courses are listed on the New York State Education Department website at:

LEARNet, a resource developed by the Brain Injury Association of New York State, includes a problem solving system designed to help identify useful procedures for helping students with brain injury in school and at home. Access the system via the LEARNet website at