Date of Award


Document Type

Independent Study

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Sports-related concussions remain the most common head injury among athletes of contact sports. Recent estimates indicated the incidence of concussions range from 1.6-3.8 million cases per year in the United States (US). The importance of appropriate medical management of these patients is vital to their health and they should be allowed to return to their sport only after medical clearance. Concussion guidelines are currently available for primary practitioners to use in order to assist them in their clinical judgment of the concussed patient; the utilization and effectiveness of these guidelines remain in question. A literature review was performed to analyze the current use of guidelines available in the U.S. and to ascertain whether or not a universal, evidence-based, return-to-play guideline would be beneficial in assisting health care practitioners to make an informed decision about the safety of an athlete returning to play. The literature showed the current use of return-to-play guidelines among health care providers is scant. With numerous states recently mandating the management of the concussed athlete to be the responsibility of health care providers, health care institutions are going to see an increase in the number of these patients. Nurse practitioners need to be prepared to manage these patients safely and effectively.