Sports Medicine Research: In the Lab & In the Field: Parents, Where are You Getting Your Concussion Information? (Sports Med Res)


Monday, September 29, 2014

Parents, Where are You Getting Your Concussion Information?

Knowledge assessment of sports-related concussion among parents of children aged 5 years to 15 years enrolled in recreational tackle football

Mannings C., Kalynych C., Joseph MM., Smotherman C., Kraemer DF. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. 2014; 77(3) Supplement 1:S18-S22.                           

Take Home Message: Parents of young athletes (5 to 15 year olds) lack of knowledge regarding concussion definition, signs and symptoms, and mechanisms. We need to implement more concussion education programs for parents of young athletes.

Pediatric concussion care is challenging due to a lack of medical personnel at events and young athletes may not be able to articulate or recognize their concussion signs and symptoms. This leaves parents responsible for recognizing a concussion injury. However, we lack research regarding the knowledge of concussions among parents of youth recreation tackle football. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine parental knowledge concerning the definition as well as the signs and symptoms of concussion in young athletes (5 to 15 years old) who participate in recreational tackle football. Three hundred and ten (84% response rate) parents, who attended specific games, filled out the 23-question, anonymous survey, which was based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports Quiz. The survey included demographic information, whether the parent believed if their child ever had a concussion as well as questions relating to concussion definition, mechanisms, and signs and symptoms. The survey also included signs and symptoms unrelated to concussion injuries to ensure the parents were aware of what signs and symptoms were truly associated with concussion injuries. Only 5 parents reported that their child had a diagnosed concussion, and 13 responded that they believed their child had a concussion, but was not diagnosed by a physician. Fifty-three percent of the parents reported that they received information about concussions. Most of parents received the information from their pediatrician (~45%), coach (32%), or sought the information from the Internet themselves (28%). Only 13% of the parents correctly identified all the concussion knowledge statements, and merely 34% were able to identify six of the seven statements correctly. The most common statements the parents failed to identify were a concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury (65%) and a concussion can occur from something other than a blow to the head (42%). None of the parents correctly identified all 12 of the concussion signs and symptoms. Most were able to identify 8 of the signs and symptoms (40%). Parents that verbally discussed concussion definition and signs and symptoms with a physician or medical personal had higher scores compared with parents who did not.

The parents play a significant role in the identification of a possible concussion injury in their children. Ninety-four percent of the parents surveyed in this study reported that their child had never had a concussion; however, only 13% correctly answered all of the concussion knowledge statements, none of the parents correctly identified all of the concussion signs and symptoms, and nearly half did not understand all the mechanisms for a concussion. This lack of concussion knowledge among parents is concerning and could lead to undiagnosed concussions. Medical personnel need to take more action to explain concussions to parents. Additionally, school districts and clubs that have youth athletic leagues, such as tackle football, should bring in medical personal to explain concussions to parents as well as provide medical coverage for the games. This study is a good reminder that we need to be more proactive about educating parents and athletes about sports injuries like concussions, especially when the kids are young and first getting started in sports.

Questions for Discussion: How are you educating parents about concussions? Do you use the Heads Up program? If so, do you think it is beneficial?

Written by: Jane McDevitt, PhD
Reviewed by: Jeffrey Driban

Related Posts:

Mannings C, Kalynych C, Joseph MM, Smotherman C, & Kraemer DF (2014). Knowledge assessment of sports-related concussion among parents of children aged 5 years to 15 years enrolled in recreational tackle football. The Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery, 77 (3 Suppl 1) PMID: 25153049


Anonymous said...

MomsTeam Institute and has the most objective,comprehensive and up to date concussion info for sportsparents

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