Health Protocols


Our Return to Sport Protocol

We take both the immediate and long-term health of students into account when considering their suitability to return to play following an injury or illness.

Merion Mercy Academy Post Concussion Policy

Any athlete that is suspected to have a concussion will be removed from play and evaluated by an athletic trainer, if a concussion is still suspected, the athlete will not be able to return to play that same day. They will be referred for further clinical evaluation by a medical professional.

The student should undergo cognitive and physical rest and should be monitored carefully for the first 24-48 hours after initial injury.  The certified athletic trainer will provide the family with education, expectations, acute management, and physician referral, as needed.  Merion Mercy Academy has a Concussion Management Team (CMT) that consists of administration, faculty and support staff members; all concussions are reported to the CMT to ensure proper care on campus.

If the student remains asymptomatic, has a normal physical exam (conducted by a licensed professional trained in concussions*), and ImPACT results are within the Reliable Change Index (RCI) provided or deemed clinically insignificant by the interpreting healthcare professional, the student may return to academics/physical activity following the protocols below. If the student-athlete is still symptomatic after 3 days and/or has a history of concussions (more than one), it is recommended that you seek further evaluation from a licensed professional trained in concussions.

All past concussion diagnoses must be disclosed to the Merion Mercy Academy (MMA) medical staff on the yearly health history forms, as well as to the medical professional who conducts the pre-participation physical.

If a concussion is sustained outside of Merion Athletics, the athlete and their family are expected to report this to the Athletic Department in a timely manner. 

Athletes with suspected concussions may not be cleared to return to play by a coach, a parent or a spectator (even if the spectator is a trained healthcare professional).  This is the role of an appropriate health-care professional. 

Return to Academics Protocal

  • Progression is based on the individual and on a case-by-case basis, as all concussions are different. 

  • Students may start at any of these steps depending on symptoms, and remain at the step as long as needed.

  • It is important to return to the previous step if symptoms worsen.\ 

  • Considerations during step progression:

    • Follow the three point rule: Symptoms should not increase more than 3-4 points or longer than 10-15 minutes.

      • If you feel an increase of 3 or more points or have an increase in symptoms for more than 10-15 minutes, take a break from what you are doing. 

      • Any symptoms should resolve quickly (less than 5 minutes).

    • The student does not need to stop immediately when symptoms increase.

    • The student’s brain may need to experience the abnormal response to let it better interpret the information.

    • Small increases of short duration symptoms is acceptable. 

return to play protocol

Return to Physical Activity Protocol

  • There should be at least 24 hours (or longer) for each step of the progression.  

  • DO NOT let symptoms increase more than 3-4 points or longer than 10-15 minutes.

    • If any symptoms persist, the athlete should go back to the previous step.  

  • Medical clearance will need to be provided to begin the Return to Play protocol.  

  • Return to activity will not progress past step 2 until the student can tolerate school full time with minimal to no accommodations (Step 5 on the Return to Academics Protocol).

return to play protocol

*Pennsylvania State Law: “licensed physician who is trained in the evaluation and management of concussions or a licensed or certified healthcare professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussion and designated by such licensed physician”


  1. Center for Disease Control, HEADS UP -

  2. National Athletic Trainers’ Association, Position Statement: Management of Sport Concussion

  3. NovaCare Rehabilitation; Consultant: Kim Wyand, PT, DPT (Concussion Coordinator)

  4. NovaCare Rehabilitation, Philadelphia Pathway and Decision Tree for Concussion Management - June 2019

  5. Pennsylvania General Assembly, Safety in Youth Sports 2011 Act 101

  6. NovaCare Rehabilitation, Concussions Can Happen Anywhere, Anytime: Concussion Treatment, Recover with Us - January 2017

  7. National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS): Suggested Guidelines for Management of Concussion in Sports - April 2017

  8. Consensus statement on concussion in sport—the 5th international conference on concussion in sport held in Berlin, October 20164


We place particular care on protecting our athletes from COVID-19, and have strict protocols regarding a student’s return to sport following a COVID-19 diagnosis. Click here for our Return to Sport Protocol (American Academy of Pediatrics).