Exploring parent and youth perspectives of the influence of concussion on school, sport and life: a qualitative study

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The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe the perceived impact of sports-related concussion by youth and their parents on home, school and sport functioning.


Semi-structured interviews were used to assess perceived changes in general academic ability, attention, learning difficulties, social performance, behaviour, mood and emotions, executive and physical function. Framework analysis was used to analyse and interpret the data.


Participants were purposively recruited from a longitudinal study investigating the cognitive and physical effects of sports-related concussion in children from 2007–2010.


13 child athletes (11 males and 2 females; average age=11±0.856 years) ages 10–13 years and their parents (13 parents=9 mothers and 4 fathers).



Outcome Measures

Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Framework analysis was employed to identify emerging themes.


The theme ‘a journey of recovery from concussion across time’ was identified and encompassed: initial reaction and recovery, re-integration into sport and school, evolvement of life skills, performance related to school and sports, personality and behaviour changes, and life lessons learned.


No long term impact of concussion was reported on hockey or school performance, but higher levels of anger and frustration related to performance post-injury were found. Child athletes' comments indicated fear of being hit again when returning to play, and a return to play while symptomatic. This suggests the need for further education around the definition of concussion and recovery, and follow-up support during return to play.


Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation.

Competing interests


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