Apr 16, 2015
How Teens View Concussions

Speaking at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Annual Meeting, Guillem Gonzalez-Lomas, MD, a member of the Department of Orthopedics at the New York University Hospital for Joint Diseases, discussed the way American teenagers view concussions. Gonzalez-Lomas was an author of a study to determine how effective concussion tools are at revealing whether athletes are “upfront” with trainers about the injury.

In a video available on Healio.comGonzalez-Lopez said that surveys were given to 186 New Jersey high school athletes, and that 9 percent said they had suffered a concussion. However, there were more disturbing findings:

“We asked the athletes if they would report a concussion on the field or after the game, and a full one-third of these athletes said that even if they had a head injury or a concussive injury during the game they would not report it to their trainer,” he said. 

There were some differences based on the sports the athletes played. When asked how many concussions it would require for an athlete to stop playing a sport entirely, football players said they would need at least six, while softball players said they would need three. Boys also reported requiring three to four concussions to quit their sport entirely while girls needed just one or two.

So what’s the take home message?

“The first one is that the questions that are asked on the sidelines by a trainer or a coach are important,” he said. “It’s very important for orthopedic surgeons who are on the sidelines to understand that high school athletes may not have the background or education to understand what a concussion is, so it’s important to educate them. And finally, it’s important to keep open lines of communications so athletes can feel comfortable reporting head trauma to their trainers or coaches.”

An abstract of the presentation is available here.

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