Most high school football players would continue to play despite acknowledged concussion symptoms

  • May 6, 2013

Surveys of high school football players, many of whom were educated about concussion dangers, revealed that they would not report their own concussion symptoms in order to play, according to a presentation at the Pediatric Academic Societies Annual Meeting in Washington.

Researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center conducted two surveys of 120 high school football players in 2012 to determine athletes’ knowledge about concussions, including symptom recognition and their attitudes about playing after a concussion. Data indicated that 70% had received concussion education and 25% reported previously being concussed.

Ninety-three percent of the cohort identified headache as a concussion symptom, followed by dizziness (89.2%), difficulty remembering and light/sound sensitivity (78.3%), difficulty concentrating (75.8%) and feeling in a fog (52.5%).

Although 90.8% of athletes recognized the potential for serious injury if they returned to play too quickly, 91.4% said it was OK to play with a concussion. Almost 75% agreed they would play despite any injury to win a game, and 40.6% indicated they immediately would reveal concussion symptoms to a coach.

Researchers said the amount of concussion knowledge players possessed did not significantly correlate with better attitude scores about returning to play or reporting their symptoms (P=.42).

“Despite having knowledge about the symptoms and dangers of concussions … athletes were unwilling to report symptoms and to abstain from play,” the researchers concluded. “Education alone for athletes may not be enough to effectively influence players to practice safe post-concussion behaviors.”

For more information:

Anderson BL. PS3165.3: “I Can’t Miss the Big Game”: High School (HS) Football Players’ Knowledge and Attitudes About Concussions. Presented at: The Pediatric Academic Societies 2013 Annual Meeting; May 4-7, Washington.

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