High school athletes take lead from coaches in reporting concussive symptoms, study finds

January 17, 2013 by Elizabeth Hunter, University of Washington
A high school baseball scoreboard. High school athletes take their cue from coaches in reporting symptoms of concussion. Credit: Joe Mabel

In a recent study, UW researchers sought to understand why high school athletes do not report concussive symptoms. The researchers conducted focus groups with 50 male and female Seattle-area varsity athletes from a variety of sports. They learned that although athletes could list concussive symptoms and understood the possible long term complications, when faced with potential concussive injury scenarios, athletes said they would not report symptoms.

A number of factors seemed to underlie ' reluctance to report concussive symptoms. Most athletes wanted to play, and knew that reporting symptoms might cause them to be pulled from the game. Athletes also expressed hesitation to report symptoms if they didn't cause significant pain or prevent them from being able to play.

Concussive symptoms are nonspecific and athletes might attribute them another cause, such as viral illness. Athletes didn't want to be wrong about being injured and then look weak or be misjudged by their teammates or coach. Athletes took the lead from their coach. If their coach had encouraged athletes to report concussive symptoms, athletes were more likely to report.

New laws in many states require athletes to be taught about , but education alone is ineffective if it does not translate into concussive reporting behavior.

Dr. Sara P. D. Chrisman, an adolescent medicine fellow in the University of Washington Department of , led the study. She said, "Our research suggests coaches have a larger role to play in concussive safety than they realize. They set the tone for concussive symptom reporting, and if they send a message that athletes should tell them when they have concussive symptoms, athletes might actually tell them. Coaches are central to concussion management."

The study was published in the Journal of and funded by a University of Washington Graduate Medical Education grant and the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center.

Explore further: Risk factors identified for prolonged sports concussion symptoms

Related Stories

Risk factors identified for prolonged sports concussion symptoms

January 16, 2013
Researchers have found clear, identifiable factors that signal whether an athlete will experience concussive symptoms beyond one week. The researchers sought to identify risk factors for prolonged concussion symptoms by examining ...

Many high school football players not concerned about concussions

October 22, 2012
Despite an increase in media attention, as well as national and local efforts to educate athletes on the potential dangers of traumatic brain injuries, a new study found that many high school football players are not concerned ...

Does gender affect acute concussive injury in soccer players? 'No' according to this study

October 2, 2012
Many studies suggest gender-related differences in athletes' responses to sports-related concussion. Nevertheless, findings have not been unanimous, and no guidelines regarding gender-specific strategies for prevention or ...

Female and younger athletes take longer to overcome concussions

May 8, 2012
New research out of Michigan State University reveals female athletes and younger athletes take longer to recover from concussions, findings that call for physicians and athletic trainers to take sex and age into account ...

NFL players may be at higher risk for depression as they age

January 16, 2013
National Football League (NFL) players may be at increased risk of depression as they age due to brain damage resulting from concussions, according to two studies released today that will be presented at the American Academy ...

Recommended for you

Don't eat bitter pumpkin, study warns after women lose hair

May 25, 2018
A doctor warned Friday that bitter-tasting pumpkins and squashes can contain potent toxins, after two women were poisoned by their dinners and lost most of their hair.

Hot cars can hit deadly temperatures in as little as one hour

May 24, 2018
A lot can happen at 160 degrees Fahrenheit: Eggs fry, salmonella bacteria dies, and human skin will suffer third-degree burns. If a car is parked in the sun on a hot summer day, its dashboard can hit 160 degrees in about ...

Research finds a little exercise does a lot of good for ageing muscles

May 24, 2018
Getting old doesn't necessarily mean getting weak and frail – just a little bit of exercise can help maintain muscle mass and strength, Otago research has revealed.

In helping smokers quit, cash is king, e-cigarettes strike out

May 23, 2018
Free smoking cessation aids, such as nicotine patches and chewing gum, are a staple of many corporate wellness programs aimed at encouraging employees to kick the habit. But, new research shows that merely offering such aids ...

What makes us well? Diversity, health care, and public transit matter

May 23, 2018
Diverse neighbors. Health centers. Commuter trains. These community attributes, and other key factors, are linked to well-being and quality of life, according to Yale researchers.

Widely used e-cigarette flavoring impairs lung function

May 23, 2018
A new study has found that a common e-cigarette flavoring that has chemical characteristics similar to toxic chemicals found in cigarette smoke disrupts an important mechanism of the lungs' antibacterial defense system. The ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

PeterD
1 / 5 (1) Jan 18, 2013
All sports that could lead to concussion should be banned from school,right through college. If you are stupid enough to risk your brain, then you can take up these sports after you are out of school.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.