Young Athletes' Concerns About Sport-Related Concussion: The Patient's Perspective

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Abstract

Objective:

Few studies have examined the experience and concerns of the concussed athlete. The purpose of this study was to identify the most pressing concerns of athletes with concussion.

Design:

Cross-sectional survey of athletes who presented for evaluation of a new sport-related concussion during an 8-month period.

Setting:

Tertiary-level sports medicine division of a large academic pediatric medical center.

Participants:

One hundred twenty one patients (67 male, 54 female) aged 8 to 18 years who had sustained a sport-related concussion participated in the study by responding to “What is the worst thing for you about having a concussion?” on the study questionnaire. Questionnaires were completed in the clinic waiting room before the visit with a provider.

Intervention:

Inductive content analysis was used to identify themes in the responses to the study question.

Main Outcome Measures:

Age, sex, sport played at the time of the current injury, history of previous concussion, known contacts with concussion, and subjective report of worst aspect of concussion.

Results:

Seventy respondents (57.9%) cited symptoms, and 68 (56.2%) reported loss of activity as the worst part of concussion, including 17 (14.0%) who listed both symptoms and loss of activity.

Conclusions:

Over half of concussed athletes indicate that the most distressing part of the injury is loss of activities, which may result from symptoms of the injury itself and/or the prescribed treatment.

Clinical Relevance:

Health care providers should not underestimate the degree to which symptoms and loss of activities affect young athletes' general well-being. In addition to the negative impact of concussion symptoms, there is an obvious cost of physical, cognitive, and social activity restrictions for patients recovering from sport-related concussions that should be explicitly addressed.

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