Return To Play Protocols, News (Waterloo Ravens Girls Minor Hockey Association )

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Return To Play Protocols
Submitted By Chris Holdsworth on Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Dear Parents, Coaches, and Trainers,

There has been some misunderstandings about the Ravens return to play protocols and we would like to get this cleared up to avoid further confusion or frustration by families, players, and teams.

The return to play protocol for players affected by concussions or suspected concussions is outlined in the following link to MO-O6-20 of the WGMHA Manual of Operations: 


This protocol applies to all players removed from play for a suspected concussion. All players suspected by trainers of showing signs of a concussion must also follow this protocol. The WGMHA return to play protocol is outlined in the following steps. Please review these steps; it would also be helpful for teams to review the protocol with your players and parents. 

Step 1 (following removal from play) is complete physical and mental rest. The literature recommends that rest be for at least 24-48 hours.

The key element of the WGMHA protocol progression is that it must start with an athlete being cleared to “return to play” (Step 2) by a physician. The WGMHA only accepts return to play statements from individuals licensed to practice medicine by the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario.

Progression through subsequent steps should be no faster than 1 step per day, and if symptoms recur, athletes must return to step 1 and be re-evaluated by a physician. The progression through the steps can be managed by a team’s trainer, or with support from a concussion management organization or individual as recommended by the player’s physician.

Assessment of progression through:

Step 3- Sport specific activities - intended to be flexible but indicative of hockey, can include skating or other higher aerobic activities; and 

Step 4- Drills without body contact - must be at an organized WGMHA practice and preferably the team’s own practice; and

Step 5- Drills with body contact - must be at an organized WGMHA practice and preferably the team’s own; and

Step 6- Game play - does NOT require physician approval, only supervision by the team’s trainer or recommended concussion management organization or individual to ensure no recurrence of symptoms.

Team trainers must document the return to play process in compliance with WGMHA and OWHA policies and procedures and maintain records appropriate to this policy. It is expected that the trainer will keep in close contact with the player and family throughout the process. 

To summarize:

A. Players removed from play for a suspected concussion must follow the return to play protocol.

B. Players should commence return to play steps only when a physician has given clearance - and follow physician guidance for managing the return to play protocol.

C. Players should proceed through subsequent return to play steps only when they do not experience symptoms or signs 

D. Each step should be a minimum of one day. 

E. If symptoms or signs return, the player must return to step 1, and be re-evaluated by a physician. 


If you have any questions or require further clarification, please contact your respective Director Steven Woods (Rep Hockey)[email protected]; or Ryan Terpstra (House League)[email protected]or myself. 

Thank you for your assistance with managing safe return to play for any Ravens players who are injured.

Sandra Hanmer                      
President, WGMHA     

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