Concussion Return-to-Play Protocols: Martial Arts


Spend 1-2 days at each level before moving to the next. 

If you develop symptoms, NOTIFY YOUR COACH OR TRAINER IMMEDIATELY. Rest one day, then resume at previous level.

  • LEVEL 1 - Light aerobic exercise (increase heart rate); running, stationary cycling, < 70% effort. Begin with 5-10 minutes first day. Following days, gradually increase up to 30 minutes continuous. No resistance training.

  • LEVEL 2 - Sport specific exercise (add movement); running, calisthenics. Forms. No contact punching or kicking.

  • LEVEL 3 - Progress to Non-contact training drills (exertion, coordination, cognitive load); Forms, weapons skills, punching & kicking contact with bag or pad. May begin resistance training.

  • LEVEL 4 - Full contact training after medical clearance; live contact skills & sparring (full gear). If you are able to train at Level 4 without symptoms you may proceed to Level 5.

  • LEVEL 5 - Competition (may return to full participation)

Note: These return to play protocols are patterned after the generic return to play protocol proposed by the 4th International Conference on Concussion(1), and may differ from the UIL recommended protocol.

(1) McCrory P, Meeuwisse WH, Aubry M, et al.  Consensus statement on concussion in sport: the 4th International Conference on Concussion in Sport held in Zurich, November 2012.  Br J Sports Med 2013; 47: 250-258.