When There's Proper Care

February 18, 2019

The proper treatment of an athlete who suffered a concussion begins with timely reporting by the athlete.  It's not surprising, however, that the likelihood of an athlete coming forward about a concussion decreases greatly when an athletic trainer is not around on a regular basis.

A November 2018 study by Timothy A. McGuine, Adam Y. Pfaller, Eric G. Post, Scott J. Hetzel, Alison Brooks, and Steven P. Broglio, published in the NATA's Journal of Athletic Training this past fall, showed that hgh school athletes with a sports-related concussion are more likely to report and receive post-concussion care in schools with higher availability of an athletic trainer.

The authors enrolled 31 high schools in Wisconsin. All high schools received athletic training services from a local or regional medical center. The availability of an athletic trainer was categorized based on the number of athletes an athletic trainer expected to serve per hour. They recruited all potential participants and collected demographic data, baseline symptoms. Athletic trainers then recorded the numbers of athlete exposures (practices, competitions, or conditioning session), any suspected sports-related concussion, sport, duration of symptoms, immediate actions taken, and post-concussion management activities.

Compared with student-athletes in high-availability schools, student-athletes in the low-availability schools were…
  • less likely to report a sports-related concussion
  • taking longer to see an athletic trainer
  • likely to have fewer post-concussion evaluations
  • less likely to take part in a supervised return-to-play protocol

The study supports the idea that the availability of athletic trainers is an important factor in providing an appropriate level of care for injuries such as sports-related concussion.  It's another reason why athletic directors need to find ways—working creatively with members of their community to raise the necessary monies—to fund athletic trainers for their athletic department.

Click here to learn more about the study.

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