Concussion reporting rates at the conclusion of an intercollegiate athletic career

Tracy Llewellyn, G Trey Burdette, A Barry Joyner, Thomas A Buckley
Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: Official Journal of the Canadian Academy of Sport Medicine 2014, 24 (1): 76-9

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to explore the current reported, unreported, and potentially unrecognized concussion rates among collegiate student-athletes who have completed their collegiate athletic career.

DESIGN: Retrospective survey.

SETTING: College and University athletic training rooms.

PARTICIPANTS: One hundred sixty-one collegiate student-athletes (56.5% women; aged 21.5 ± 1.3; 3.7 ± 1.0 years of collegiate athletic experience) from 10 institutions who had either completed their intercollegiate athletic eligibility or were no longer participating.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The self-reported concussion rate, the unreported rate and reasons, and the potentially unrecognized concussion rate.

RESULTS: The self-reported concussion rate was 33.5% (54/161), and 22.2% (12) self-reported at least 3 concussions. The unreported rate was 11.8% (19/161), and the potentially unrecognized rate was 26.1% (42/161) with the most common unrecognized symptom being "knocked silly/seen stars" (23.6% [38/161]).

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, 49.7% of all respondents (80/161) reported 1 acknowledged, unreported, or potential concussion. The unreported rate was lower than previous high school studies; however, the potentially unrecognized rate remains high and should be clinically concerning. These findings suggest educational interventions targeting collegiate student-athletes should remain and continue to focus on identifying concussion symptoms and dispelling the common misconception that "bell ringers" and "dings" are not concussions.

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