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Concussion Return-to-Play Protocols: Soccer

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); Begin running, < 70% effort. Begin with 5-10 minutes, 10 min of rest, then another 5-10 minutes. Following days, gradually increase time up to 30 minutes continuous.  
  • LEVEL 2 - Sport specific exercise (add movement); Advance to full speed running. Begin ball handling (juggling, passing, trapping, dribbling). No heading.  
  • LEVEL 3 - Progress to Non-contact training drills (exertion, coordination, cognitive load); Multiple player (2 or more) drills. Agility and conditioning drills. No heading. May begin resistance training (push-ups, sit-ups, weights).  
  • LEVEL 4 - Full contact training after medical clearance; live drills, full team scrimmage. Use head only for trapping. If you are able to train at Level 4 without symptoms, you may proceed to Level 5.  
  • LEVEL 5 - Game play (may return to full participation). Use head for trapping only for the first 2 weeks of game play after your concussion.

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.