COVID / Concussion
Return to Play Protocol
With season D quickly approaching, we wanted to take a moment to reach out and provide some important information regarding athletes that have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or a concussion. Any Jefferson County athlete that has been diagnosed with either condition, even if the diagnosis was a year ago, must complete a return to play protocol supervised by their athletic trainer. This policy is in place for several key reasons.
The COVID-19 virus can potentially negatively impact any endothelial structure, including the heart and lungs, thereby posing a potential risk to individuals who return to exercise post-infection. Concussions can have serious, potentially debilitating, short-term and long-term symptoms that can be exacerbated with exercise. The return to play process for these two conditions allows our medical staff to screen affected athletes and ensure no underlying conditions are present that would present a serious health concern when participating in athletics.
If an athlete has been diagnosed with COVID-19 they are required to complete the return to play process prior to being allowed to participate in Jefferson County athletics. Once notified, the athletic trainer will email the parents and athlete with information and instructions on the process. The email will include a Medical Clearance Form that must be completed by a physician. Once this is completed and returned to the athletic trainer, the athlete will be taken through the gradual 5-stage return to play protocol as seen below. The athlete’s heart rate, exertion level and oxygen saturation percentage will be monitored through this process to ensure no complication arises.
If an athlete has sustained a concussion, they are also required to complete a return to play protocol. It is important to note that while physician clearance is required to begin this process, the athlete must still complete each stage. A physician note that states an athlete is allowed to return to full participation does not clear the athlete to participate in Jefferson County athletics. They may only return once also cleared by their athletic trainer. This policy is in place to ensure that the return to play process is consistently handled in accordance with best practice recommendations. The concussion return to play protocol is a gradual 5-stage process as seen below. Athletes will be monitored by their athletic trainer for any aggravation of symptoms throughout this process.
Additional information for both the COVID-19 and concussion return to play can be found on the Conifer Sports Medicine website under the “COVID-19” and “Additional Information” tabs respectively. The concussion protocol differs slightly for new concussions with the addition of academic accommodations and can be found on the Concussion Information sheet.
With the high number of cases and low availability, there is currently a backlog of athletes needing to be cleared for future sports. While we have been working diligently to contact athletes that need to complete protocol, there will inevitably be athletes that slip through the cracks. In-season and season D athletes will be prioritized in order to be eligible for tryouts. As a reminder, these protocols will take a MINIMUM of 5 days. Please notify either CJ Rosenborough, our Athletic Trainer, or Eric Kragel, our Athletic Director, as soon as possible to schedule a time if your athlete needs to complete protocol.
COVID Return to Play Protocol
Complete return to play protocols (Minimum of one session per phase, with 24 hours between sessions. Prior to advancing out of a phase, athlete must maintain adequate O2 levels and demonstrate the ability to complete the physical demands of the session without excessive fatigue or presenting with concerning signs/symptoms, such as prolonged high heart rate, abnormal respiratory rate/recovery, chest pain or tightness, or the return of signs/symptoms associated with COVID-19.)
Day 1: Light aerobic activity (up to 70% maximum heart rate) 15 mins. Activities: walking, light jogging or using a stationary bike. No strength training.
Day 2: Aerobic exercise (up to 80% maximum heart rate) 30- 45 mins. Activities: simple movement activities, running drill, simple sport specific activities. No strength training.
Day 3:Sport specific training (up to 80% maximum heart rate) for up to 60 minutes. May add light resistance exercises.
Day 4: Resume normal training activities and duration for at least one session.
Day 5: Return to competition with no restrictions.
Concussion Return to Play
Each stage is separated by 24 hours. If symptoms worsen, exercise is halted and the stage is started over the next day.
Stage 1: Asymptomatic for 24 hours
Stage 2: Light Aerobic Activity
Stage 3: Moderate Sports-Specific Activity
Stage 4: Non-Contact Practice
Stage 5: Full-Contact Practice
Stage 6: Cleared for Full Return