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.
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.
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.
*Division of Sports Medicine, Department of Orthopaedics, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts;
†Division of Occupational and Physical Therapy, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio;
‡Division of Sports Medicine, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio;
§Sports Medicine Biodynamics Center and Human Performance Laboratory, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, Ohio;
¶Departments of Pediatrics and Orthopaedic Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH;
‖The Micheli Center for Sports Injury Prevention, Waltham, Massachusetts; and
#Tufts University Family Medicine Residency at Cambridge Health Alliance, Malden, Massachusetts.
Corresponding Author: Cynthia J. Stein, MD, MPH, Division of Sports Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, 319 Longwood Ave, Boston 02115, MA (firstname.lastname@example.org).
W. P. Meehan receives research funding from the National Hockey League Alumni Association through the Corey C. Griffin Pro-Am Tournament. W. P. Meehan also receives royalties from ABC-Clio Publishing and Wolters-Kluwer Publishing. The other authors report no conflicts of interest.
Received May 05, 2015
Accepted July 21, 2015