Study finds athletes’ ideas of concussion differ from the accepted medical definition
Athletes do not have the same understanding of a concussion and its effects as the formally accepted medical definition of the condition, study results showed.
“This study indicates that researchers and clinicians cannot assume that athletes have a clear understanding of the definition of concussion. It is necessary, therefore, to prompt athletes with a current definition when asking about their concussion histories. In a research setting, it is also critical that the definition used be reported in the published findings,” Clifford A. Robbins, BA, and colleagues wrote.
They conducted telephone-based structured interviews as part of a cross-sectional study of former and current athletes who participated in the Longitudinal Evaluation to Gain Evidence of Neurodegenerative Disease (LEGEND) 15 project.
The interviews of 472 athletes were done between January 2010 and January 2013. Researchers asked participants to report how many concussions they received in their lifetime. Interviewers then read participants a current definition of concussion, and asked them to re-estimate the number of concussions they had based on that definition.
Robbins and colleagues found of the 472 athletes interviewed, 17 athletes reported they had not experienced a concussion in their playing career. After hearing a medical definition of a concussion, however, four of the athletes still maintained their original claim.
“Our results suggest that simply providing a current definition of a concussion to at-risk populations may help increase proper identification of these types of injuries through recognition of concussion symptoms. Future research should aim to assess how robust this education effect is over time, and whether it can have effects comparable to those of more time- and resource-intensive concussion education programs,” Robbins and colleagues wrote.
Disclosures: The authors have no relevant financial disclosures.