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Understanding of Sport Concussion by the Parents of Young Rugby Players: A Pilot Study

Sullivan, S John PhD*; Bourne, Liam BPhty*; Choie, Sharon BPhty*; Eastwood, Brigitte BPhty*; Isbister, Sarah BPhty*; McCrory, Paul PhD†; Gray, Andrew BCom (Hons)‡

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JSM.0b013e3181a41e43
Brief Report

Objective: Establish the knowledge and beliefs of the parents of high school rugby players about concussion.

Design: Descriptive cross-sectional intercept style face-to-face pilot survey.

Setting: The survey was conducted during high school rugby games.

Participants: Two hundred parents of male high school rugby players who were attending their teenagers' games.

Main Outcome Measures: Exploratory analysis of the closed- and open-ended questionnaire. Concussion signs and symptoms were subsequently mapped onto the framework of the Sport Concussion Assessment Tool.

Results: Most parents (83%; 165 of 198) reported that they were able to recognize a concussion in their teenager and provide a list of well-accepted signs and symptoms. Nearly all (96%; 188 of 196) were aware of the risks of continuing to play while concussed, and approximately half (51%; 99 of 196) were aware of return-to-play guidelines/recommendations after a concussion.

Conclusions: Parents of male high school rugby players reported having basic knowledge of concussion symptoms and the seriousness of concussion. Parents are potentially key figures in the detection of a possible concussion in the postgame/practice home environment.

Author Information

From the *Centre for Physiotherapy Research, School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand; †Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; and ‡Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dunedin School of Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand.

Submitted for publication October 17, 2007; accepted March 4, 2009.

The authors state that they have no financial interest in the products mentioned within this article.

Reprints: S. John Sullivan, PhD, Centre for Physiotherapy Research, School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand (e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.