What is a Concussion?

A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head that can change the way your brain normally works. Concussions can also occur from a blow to the body that causes the head to move rapidly back and forth.

A concussion can have any one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Positive loss of consciousness (blackout)
  • Headaches and sensitivity to light
  • Physical signs (such as nausea, vomiting or unsteadiness)
  • Impaired brain function (such as confusion)
  • Abnormal behavior (agitation/aggression)

Please be aware that adults typically take longer to show symptoms than children and that some symptoms may take several hours to manifest.

If you think it might have been a concussion, please treat it like a concussion!

WFTDA Concussion Guidelines and Clarifications

WFTDA members must follow the Return to Play Protocol that is found in the WFTDA Risk Management Guidelines and summarized below.

Return to Play Following a Potential Concussion Guidelines

The Risk Management Guidelines state: A participant who is determined to show signs of a concussion following assessment may not return to play on the day of the injury. A participant who is determined to show signs of a potential concussion following assessment may return to play under medical or athletic training supervision by a professional trained and certified in return to play following concussions. It is recommended that the participant follow the graduated return to play protocol identified in Table 1 of the Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport (Section 5.2). A link directly to that table is here: http://bjsm.bmj.com/content/51/11/838#T1


If at any point symptoms return, drop back to previous (or earlier) step.

Rehabilitation Stage Functional exercise at each stage of rehabilitation Objective of each stage
1. No activity Symptom limited physical and cognitive rest Recovery
2. Light aerobic exercise Walking, swimming, or stationary cycling,
keeping intensity < 70% maximum permitted heart rate.
No resistance training
Increase heart rate
3. Sport-specific Non-contact skating drills, endurance skating, speed skating Add movement
4. Non-contact training drills Progression to more complex training drills, still non-contact.
May start progressive resistance training
Exercise, coordination and cognitive load
5. Full-contact practice Following medical clearance, participate in normal training activities Restore confidence and assess functional skills by coaching staff
6. Return to play Normal gameplay Normal gameplay

Read the complete Return to Play Protocol in the WFTDA Risk Management Guidelines document.

Learn how to manage concussion risk on the WFTDA Concussion Risk Clarifications page.

Back to top