Heidi A. Wayment
A smartphone-supported tool allowed for “rapid and easy” recording of concussion symptom reporting behavior, according to findings recently published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
“There are really no good measures of the number of athletes who do come forward with any kind of symptom or worry that could be related to concussion,” Heidi A. Wayment, PhD, of the department of psychological sciences at Northern Arizona University, told Healio Primary Care Today.
Researchers wrote that every kind of concussion-related symptom behavior and follow-up care are “important to document” to gauge how well concussion-symptom reporting programs are performing and also, care of patients with concussion “should be documented.”
To develop the tool, researchers gathered direct and indirect reports on concussions from athletic trainers, coaches, players and teammates, during two NCAA football seasons.
They found concussion symptom reporting behavior most often began with athletes engaged in practice. Athletic trainers engaged in game settings were the next most likely group to report such behavior. In addition, 45% of initial concussion screens ultimately resulted in a comprehensive screen, and approximately 25% of comprehensive screens originated by the athletic trainer or athlete after concussion behavior resulted in concussion diagnosis.
Wayment said clinicians who have patients that first present in primary care as the first-line treatment for their concussion could benefit from using the Concussion Symptom Reporting Tool.
Wayment said clinicians who have patients that first present in primary care as the first-line treatment for their concussion could benefit from using the Concussion Symptom Reporting Tool, a researcher tells Healio Primary Care Today.
“If there were individuals who come to [primary care physicians] to check to see if they have a concussion — which I could imagine might be possible, since some athletes may wish not to bring potential symptoms to the attention of their coach — it could be of interest to understand what number of reports are made each year,” she said in the interview.
According to AAP, an estimated 1.1 million to 1.9 million pediatric patients each year are treated for a recreational or sport-related concussion “yet the true number of youth concussions likely remains underreported.” Another study, in the Journal of Athletic Training, found 55% of 715 athletes did not report their concussion. Other data has suggested 81.9% of patients in one primary care health system first sought treatment for their concussion through primary care.
Other previous research suggests underreporting of concussion has become a growing concern in sports: one group of researchers called the lack of reporting “a complex phenomenon,” while another group called it “a serious medical concern.”
Wayment and colleagues wrote that they hoped the Concussion Symptom Reporting Tool could reverse these trends.
“This paper introduces a simple and straight forward measurement tool that not only can help programs assess the detection and care completed by trained health professionals but also record the number of student athletes seeking help for any type of symptom, regardless of the [sports-related concussion] outcome — which is arguably a first step in endorsing a culture of concussion reporting.”
Researchers also wrote the Concussion Symptom Reporting Tool has other benefits, including allowing health care professionals to document concussion-related data in a way that limits recall bias and allow greater adherence to The Berlin Consensus statement on concussions.
The tool Wayment et al developed is one of several related to concussions that Healio Primary Care Today has reported on recently. The FDA approved EyeBOX, which uses eye-tracking to assist in diagnosing concussions earlier this month and last year the agency approved Brain Trauma Indicator, which was the first device to utilize blood tests to assess concussion. – by Janel Miller
AAP. Pediatrics. 2018;doi:10.1542/peds.2018-3074.
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Wayment HA, et al. Am J Prev Med. 2018;doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2018.10.007.
Disclosures: Healio Primary Care Today was unable to determine authors’ relevant financial disclosures prior to publication.