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Student-athletes often fail to report concussion signs and symptoms, thereby putting themselves at risk for delayed recovery and permanent impairment. The present study examined motivations for underreporting concussion symptoms among college athletes enrolled at an NCAA Division I university. One hundred and ninety-three student-athletes in high-risk sports completed a multiple-choice survey related to self-reporting of suspected concussion symptoms and reporting of teammates’ symptoms. Results indicated that 45% of participants did not report their own suspected concussions during the present season and 50% did not report suspected concussions in teammates. Responses revealed that the primary reason for underreporting a suspected concussion was the belief that the blow to the head was not serious enough. Suggestions are provided for athletes, athletic staff, and coaches to improve players’ awareness of the signs, symptoms, and consequences of concussions, as well as how to report suspected concussions appropriately.
Susan C. Davies and Brenna M. Bird are with the University of Dayton, Dayton, OH.