The Back2Play App Study

Now Recruiting!

Back2Play App images on the iPhone.


The decision to return to activity (RTA) and return to school (RTS) following concussion is one of the most difficult areas in concussion management for children and youth. Prof. Carol DeMatteo and her research team have developed and evaluated evidence-based RTS and RTA guidelines to help children through their concussion recovery. In evaluating these protocols, Prof. DeMatteo found that children and youth had difficulties following the guidelines due to a lack of feedback and guidance. To address these issues, Prof. DeMatteo was awarded a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) grant to develop the Back2Play App.

The Back2Play App will help guide children and youth through the CanChild RTA and RTS protocols by incorporating biological feedback, movement data and cognitive assessments. This project consists of 3 phases, Phase 1: App Development, Phase 2: Pilot Study and Phase 3: A Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT). The RCT will evaluate whether the Back2Play App shortens the duration and intensity of concussion symptoms and prevents repeat injury in children and youth.

Prof. DeMatteo and her team together with the mHealth and eHealth Development and Innovation Centre (MEDIC) at Mohawk developed the Back2Play App. It was pilot tested in the fall of 2020 and soon we will begin to evaluate the effectiveness of this App.

Phase 3 RCT Recruitment

Do you or someone you know have a concussion?

We will be testing the Back2Play App in a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to see how effective it is in helping children with concussion shorten the duration of symptoms, return to full activity and prevent re-injury compared with those who receive usual care. We are anticipating starting recruitment at the end of March 2022.  At that time the Back2Play App will be randomly assigned to 120 participants and another 120 participants will receive concussion management as per usual (brochure or printed guidelines).

Participants who are randomized to the Back2Play App group will be given an apple watch to wear and use of the App until symptom resolution or after a maximum of 3 months of participation. At that time participants from both groups will be asked to attend a Zoom meeting (30 mins- 1 hour) to tell us about their experience with recovery from concussion. The watch will then be returned to the study team.

Inclusion Criteria: Children/youth aged 10-18; Have a diagnosis of concussion/mild traumatic brain injury; be within one month of diagnosis and still be symptomatic.

Exclusion Criteria:  Have a brain injury requiring resuscitation, admission to pediatric critical care unit or surgical intervention.

If you know a child who has had a concussion, and is interested in learning more about the study, please contact us at concuss@mcmaster.ca or call 365-366-5620.​

Here are some specific sport back to play resources we have been working on!

Funded by

Total funding $988,578  for 2019-2022

Developed by