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

C., Kalynych C., Joseph MM., Smotherman C., Kraemer DF. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery. 2014; 77(3) Supplement

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.

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.

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?

by: Jane McDevitt, PhD
by: Jeffrey Driban


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