Teenagers who understand concussions not more likely to self-report, study says

Concussion awareness is higher in teenage athletes with access to athletic trainers, but those students aren’t more likely to self-report, a study has found.


Over 700 teenage athletes from 14 schools in the Michigan answered 83 questions that revealed their knowledge of concussion issues and their own history with concussions. Those with access to athletic trainers better understood the dangers of concussions (94% vs. 87%) and the signs and symptoms of concussions (78% vs. 61%). In addition, fewer students with access to ATs thought they could continue playing if they believed they had a concussion or that they could continue playing with concussion symptoms.


Perhaps more significantly, the study indicates that 55% of suspected concussions in teenage athletes across the board go unreported, and the students’ understanding of concussions had a negligible effect on whether they chose to report. Those that didn’t self-report had a variety of reasons:




Athletes in general – and high schoolers in particular – have never been known to prioritize long-term safety and health over short-term pay-offs (if you didn’t already, see the chart above). If educating teens about the dangers and severity of head injuries is having little impact on them, then the parents, coaches, ATs and other officials need to be particularly vigilant. We can’t let teenagers with concussions fall through (or jump into) the cracks.


*Scientists have no conclusive evidence as to whether or how the reduction of g-forces during impacts reduces the number or degree of concussions and head injuries. GelDefender products provide supplemental padding as well as cooling and comfort benefits when used with helmets and caps. Participants in activities in which head impacts can occur should always use tested and approved helmets for protection. However, no helmet or supplemental padding can protect the user from all serious head or neck injuries that can result from impacts.