Return to Sports Decision
Making the most informed return to practice and play decision
Returning to sports prematurely, without (1) the physical fitness, (2) the sports-specific skills or (3) the mental confidence to perform are the three biggest reasons why most athletes fail to return to sports successfully.
Returning prematurely can lead to;
- Increased risk of re-injury
- Increased risk of sub-par performances (struggling to achieve sports goals without the necessary fitness or individual skills)
- Increased risk of secondary injury (i.e. unable to move quickly out of the way of an opponent due to a knee injury then sustaining a new injury such as a concussion)
- Increased risk of psychological depression & withdrawal from others (struggling to meet expectations)
- Increased risk of altered communication with coaches and teammates (struggling to meet expectations)
- Increased risk of losing of interest in the sport (no longer enjoyable if their performances are poor or the pressure to achieve or lead is too great)
- Increased risk of quitting or retiring prematurely from the sport for all the items listed above.
Must Answer “Yes” to ALL of the Following Questions
- Has repair tissue at the site of injury had adequate time to restore sufficient tensile strength to withstand the unrestricted demands of the given sport?
- Has the athlete restored full painfree range of motion at the site of injury; full muscular strength, power and endurance; normal dynamic proprioception at the affected joints?
- Has the athlete seen a physician and received medical clearance to return to unrestricted practice?
- Has the athlete restored their ability to perform their individual sport-specific skills with confidence, precision at full speed, with the endurance to repeat the skills as needed WITHOUT an immediate or delayed onset of symptoms within 24 hours?
- Does the athlete feel confident in their physical and psychological abilities to return to play and excel?
- After the athlete has participated in unrestricted practices without a return of symptoms, have they seen a physician and been cleared to participate in unrestricted competition?
Default: “If in doubt, keep them out”