Concussions are one of the most common sport-related injuries affecting athletes participating at all levels across a variety of sports. It has been reported that up to 3.8 million concussive events occur per year that are sports-related. One significant issue with identifying concussions is that a clinical diagnosis is based on the presence of signs and symptoms, which are self-reported by the patient. In the adolescent population, injury to the brain is possible with even the slightest insult, which can affect recovery and predispose them to subsequent concussions. Recent legislative efforts have included athlete education as a means to improve concussion reporting. More specifically, all 50 US states and the District of Columbia have implemented concussion legislation that includes some type of concussion education protocol, but there is still little evidence to suggest that enhanced knowledge levels result in behavior changes, including improved concussion-reporting practices. It is unclear what factors make an adolescent athlete more or less likely to report the symptoms of a concussion.
Focused Clinical Question:
What factors positively or negatively influence secondary school athletes’ likelihood of reporting symptoms of sport-related concussions?
The authors are with the Athletic Training Program, A.T. Still University, Mesa, AZ.