In this section
Your child has been diagnosed with a likely concussion. This factsheet tells you the steps your child should take to recover and return to normal activity.
The suspected diagnosis of concussion can include one or more of the following concussion complaints:
The majority of concussions will get better on their own over several days. To recover, the brain and body need to rest. Physical exercise and activities that require concentration (video- or computer-games, text messaging, schoolwork etc) may make symptoms worse and delay recovery. Children and adolescents with concussion need more time to recover than adults.
Use the steps in the table below to help decide when your child can safely return to playing sport.
Exercise at each stage
1. No activity
Complete physical and mental rest.
2. Light aerobic exercise
Walking, swimming or stationary cycling. No resistance training.
Increase heart rate
3. Sport-specific exercise
Running drills in football (soccer or AFL), hockey and other ball games.No head impact activities.
4. Non-contact training drills
Passing drills in football (soccer or AFL) and other ball games.May start progressive resistance training.
Exercise and coordination
5. Full-contact practice
Participate in normal training activities.
Restore confidence and assess function by coaching staff
6. Return to play
Normal game play. However, before returning to normal game play, your child should have a check-up with their GP.
Talk to the doctor if you are unsure whether your child can progress to the next stage or can fully return to play. Go back to the doctor or hospital immediately if your child has any one of the following:
In more severe or repeated concussions your treating doctor may ask you to ensure your child avoids all contact sport and other activities with increased risk of head injury before starting the above steps. This period should be for ________ days/weeks (to be completed by treating doctor).
Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Emergency Department, in consultation with the Departments of Neurosurgery and Neuropsychology. Published: December 2012. Updated: June 2015.