Returning to Play

NEW: updated guidance is now available on Return to Play (PDF 1.6MB).

As our understanding of concussion has improved it is clear that there is significant variability in recovery from concussion. Subtle chemical changes in the brain can now be detected and more sophisticated scans and brain function tests are shedding more light on this.

Any return to play should therefore be assessed on an individual basis and should reflect the level of medical expertise available. Ideally, the club/school doctor or the medical practitioner responsible for the player’s health care will advise on and oversee the return to play process. However it is appreciated that not all GPs or school doctors have a detailed understanding of this process and engaging NHS health care professionals in such a process can be very difficult. Coaches and/or parents may therefore find it useful to refer the doctor to this guidance and the resources for healthcare professionals available on this site.

In young players a very conservative Graduated Return to Play (GRTP) (PDF 1.6MB) approach is recommended, and it is advisable to extend the amount of rest and the length of the graded reintroduction of exertion. As part of the process it is also prudent to consult with the young person’s academic teacher(s) or tutor to ensure that their academic performance has returned to normal. The school environment obviously helps with this liaison with educational experts.

Use the links under “More” above to find specific information about returning to play after concussion relevant to your role in rugby.

The information contained in this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for appropriate medical advice or care. If you believe that you or someone under your care has sustained a concussion we strongly recommend that you contact a qualified health care professional for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. The authors have made responsible efforts to include accurate and timely information. However they make no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy of the information contained and specifically disclaim any liability in connection with the content on this site.