Considerations for return-to-play and retirement decisions after concussion

PM R. 2011 Oct;3(10 Suppl 2):S440-4. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2011.07.013.


Return-to-play and retirement decisions after concussion are often difficult and complex. The complexity of these decisions may be influenced by many factors, including the number, proximity, and severity of previous concussions; gender; age; sport played; exposure to head impacts; and predisposing or pre-existing conditions. These circumstances and conditions can confound the decisions concerning return to play and retirement. Clinicians should carefully weigh how these circumstances and conditions influence quality of life and how they interact with the effects of concussion. Furthermore, clinicians should consider past and potential exposures to both subconcussive and concussive impacts during the athlete's lifetime when deliberating a return to play or retirement. The purpose of this overview is to highlight and discuss these issues as they factor into the return-to-play and retirement decisions after a concussive injury in an effort to provide clinicians with evidence-based information that can be used in the decision-making process.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Athletes*
  • Athletic Injuries / complications*
  • Brain Concussion / complications*
  • Decision Making*
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Post-Concussion Syndrome / complications
  • Retirement
  • Sex Factors