knowing the risk of serious injury from playing football with a concussion,
half of high school football players would continue to play if they had a
headache stemming from an injury sustained on the field.
In a new
study, physicians from Cincinnati Children’s also report that approximately
half of athletes wouldn’t report concussion symptoms to a coach. Findings were presented
May 6 at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Washington,
yet at the point where we can make specific policy recommendations for sports
teams, but this study raises concerns that young athletes may not report
symptoms of concussions,” says Brit Anderson, MD, an emergency medicine fellow
at Cincinnati Children’s and the study’s lead author. “Other approaches, such
as an increased use of sideline screening by coaches or athletic trainers,
might be needed to identify injured athletes.”
Ignoring the risks
colleagues surveyed 120 high school football players. Of those players, 30 reported having suffered
a concussion and 82 reported receiving prior concussion education. The vast majority of athletes recognized
headaches, dizziness, difficulty with memory, difficulty concentrating, and sensitivity
to light and sound as concussion symptoms.
More than 90 percent recognized the risk of serious injury if they
returned to play too quickly.
these high levels of awareness, 53 percent responded that they would “always or
sometimes continue to play with a headache sustained from an injury,” and only 54
percent indicated they would “always or sometimes report symptoms of a
concussion to their coach.”
study on concussion education in adolescent athletes and on ways to identify
high school athletes who have sustained a concussion would be useful,” Anderson
Up to 3.8 million recreation- and sport-related concussions occur in the
United States annually. Concussions represent 8.9 percent of all high school athletic
2009, the state of Washington passed the first comprehensive law regarding
concussion management in young athletes. This law requires school boards, in
conjunction with the state interscholastic activity association, to develop
educational materials and guidelines for athletes, coaches, and parents.
law also requires that parents and athletes sign an informed-consent form
acknowledging the dangers of concussions before participation in sports. Under
the law, an athlete must be removed from any game if suspected of having a
concussion and may not return until evaluated and given clearance to return to
play from a licensed health care professional.
other states have either passed or are considering similar legislation.