ORLEANS – 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 about the long-term effects of concussions and don’t report their own
concussion symptoms because they fear exclusion from play. The abstract,
“Awareness and Attitudes of High School Athletes Towards Concussions,” was
presented on Oct. 22, at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) National
Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans.
provided high school varsity football players with an Internet link to a
confidential survey. The survey asked players about their previous concussion
history, level of comfort in recognizing concussion symptoms, awareness of
potential long-term health risks, and whether or not their attitudes on
concussions had changed with the recent influx of information and warnings.
the 134 players who completed the survey, 10 percent reported that they had
been diagnosed with a concussion by a physician or team trainer, while 32
percent reported they had concussion-like symptoms at some point over the past
two years but did not seek medical attention. More than half of the respondents
said they did not seek attention due to concerns of being excluded from play.
Seventy-one percent of the athletes noted that they were more aware of
concussion symptoms than they were when entering high school; however, less
than half reported they are more likely to report symptoms despite this
85 percent of respondents noted that 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,” said study author Michael Israel, MD, of the University of
Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Overall, the study showed that while the growing media attention
has increased the awareness of high school athletes, there has been only a
marginal change in student athlete behaviors and concerns for possible health
consequences, Israel said. “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
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary
care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical
specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants,
children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.