Soirée Kids: Arkansas Children’s Sports Medicine Follows ‘Safe Return to Play’ Protocols

Sports Medicine and Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Brant Sachleben breaks down how ACH assesses injured athletes both physically and mentally before getting them back into the game.

What is Safe Return to Play?

BS: “Safe return to play” protocols ensure that children are ready physically and mentally to get back in the game after injury. We want them to get back as fast as possible, but in a way that doesn’t create a secondary injury or exacerbate their current injury.


What is the process for return to play?

BS: We go through three questions before clearing a child after an injury: Is it safe, is the pain tolerable for sport and is the child able to function at the level needed for his or her sport. Obviously, the “is it safe” question is the most important and the one we spend the most time discussing with young athletes and their families.

How do you know they are physically ready? 

BS: We often have the child undergo a series of physical tests, depending on the injury. After an ACL reconstruction, we use strength and dynamic quality of movement testing to ensure the injured knee has a low chance of reinjury. We also evaluate mental readiness because being ready isn’t just physical.


What about returning to play after a concussion? 

BS: After a child suffers a head injury that causes a concussion, it’s very important to monitor them carefully and ensure they do not return to activity too soon. We use an active rehabilitation method, which means the child gradually returns to normal routines.

1 Children’s Way
Little Rock, AR 72202

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