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

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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.


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


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


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.


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.


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.


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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