Blow to the Head, No Problem?

Football players are not concerned about getting a concussion

(RxWiki News) With America well into football season, the clashing of helmets has led to some major damage and blows to the head. But high school football players aren't too upset about it.

Despite media coverage and information on concussions in sport, many football players at the high school level are not concerned about head injuries and their long-term effects,  a research study found.

"Interestingly, 85 percent of respondents noted they received a majority of their concussion knowledge from their coach or trainer, while less than 10 percent obtained information from media outlets including TV, newspapers, magazines and the Internet," the researcher said.

"Report concussion symptoms to a trainer."

The study, led by Michael Israel, MD, of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, included 134 football players who were surveyed online about their history of concussions and their ability to recognize its symptoms.

They were also asked about their attitudes toward these injuries given the vast information available and whether they were aware of the long-term health risks.

The participants were not required to answer all the questions, which were written in multiple choice format.

Researchers found 10 percent reported they'd been diagnosed with a concussion by a team trainer or doctor.

At the same time, 32 percent reported having symptoms pointing toward concussions sometime during the last couple of years but did not have medical attention for it.

They also discovered student athletes fear being taken out of the game if they have a concussion and thus don't report their own symptoms.

Fifty-three percent of the football players said they were more aware of concussion symptoms than when they first started high school, but less than half were likely to say whether they had symptoms even though they were more aware.

"New evidence about sports-related concussions is constantly being produced, and we as a medical community need to do a better job of disseminating this information to coaches, trainers, and athletic associations to help ensure the safety of their athletes," he said.

Rusty Gregory, a certified wellness coach and dailyRx Contributing Expert, said that doctors and athletic trainers are using Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT) program to manage concussion symptoms.

His daughter got a concussion while playing basketball, which he said resulted in her missing six weeks of school and the remainder of the season.

"The test does not lie, even if the athlete doesn't want to report their symptoms," he said.

"The athlete can take the test multiple times until they reach an acceptable level. This ensures they don't return to play too soon."

Gregory said the test is what helped his daughter not return to basketball too soon. She was cleared to play last month by her doctor. 

The study was presented October 22 in New Orleans at the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference and Exhibition.

Review Date: 
October 26, 2012