professional football players chose not to reveal their concussion symptoms
during a game or practice  
Mouzon BC, Bachmeier C, Ojo JO, Acker CM, Ferguson S,
Paris D, Ait-Ghezala G, Crynen G, Davies P, Mullan M, Stewart W, Crawford F.
2017. Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology: ahead of print.
Take Home
: Many professional
football players whom believed they suffered a concussion failed to disclose
this information to a medical professional – many reported that they did not
believe the injury was serious enough.
Despite increased concussion knowledge and
understanding of concussion policies, some athletes still fail to report that
they may have suffered a concussion to a medical professional and continue to
play. Several researchers have investigated why athletes fail to report his/her
concussion; however, little is known about professional Canadian football
players. Therefore, the authors mailed 100 questionnaires to each of the
9-team’s head athletic trainer/therapist to identify reasons why athletes
believed they suffered a concussion and failed to seek medical attention, how
often this occurred, and how important these reasons were in the decision
process. During the 2016 preseason physicals, athletes who consented completed
the anonymous survey. This survey consisted of 17 questions that assessed the
player’s football participation history, lifetime and recent (past 12 months) concussion
injury history, and 13 different scenarios where players re-counted how many
times each scenario happened to them and rated how important it was in their
decision to disclose or not. A total of 454 athletes completed the survey, of
which 309 athletes played in the Canadian Football League in the 2015 season. Among
446 players, 188 (42%) had a history of concussion. However, of the 309 players
that participated in the 2015 season only 21% stated they would always share
their symptoms and 62% reported that they would never volunteer their symptoms.
The most common reason a player failed to report a concussion was because they
did not feel the concussion was serious/severe enough and felt they could
continue to play with little danger (49%). Forty-two percent felt that they
would be removed from the game, and they did not want this to happen, and 41%
reported they thought they would let the team down if they reported a concussion.
Similar to the National Football League, the
Canadian Football League has a concussion policy, concussion spotters, and
targeted concussion education programs for their players. However, the authors
of this study found that the minority of athletes sought medical attention for
a concussion, and most athletes would not volunteer concussion injury
information to medical personnel. Additionally, like previous research, the authors found the most frequent reasons for why an athlete failed to disclose a potential
concussion was because they did not deem it serious enough, they do not want to
let the teammates down, or they do not want to be taken out of the game. This
underscores an important but sad reality that too often education does not lead
to a change in behavior. It would be interesting to see if a broad cohort of
athletes have similar attitudes and reporting behaviors regarding concussions
across different sports, ages, and skill levels. Within this Canadian Football
League cohort it would be noteworthy to determine if they are failing to disclose
due potential financial loss.  We need
further research to identify how we can better educate athletes, so we can
encourage healthy injury reporting behaviors. At this time, medical
professionals need to be aware of the reasons why athletes may not disclose a
potential concussion.
for Discussion
: How do you educate
your athletes so it translates into healthy reporting behaviors? Do you feel
like your approaches to concussion education have been successful?
Written by: Jane McDevitt, PhD
by: Jeff Driban
Related Posts: