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Concussion in Theater: A Cross-Sectional Survey of Prevalence and Management in Actors and Theater Technicians

Russell, Jeffrey, A., PhD; Daniell, Brooke, M., MEd

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: March 2018 - Volume 60 - Issue 3 - p 205–210
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001236

Objective: Determine the history of occupational head impacts, concussion symptoms, and concussion management in theater personnel.

Methods: Personnel working in theater environments completed a survey about head impacts that occurred in theater activities and how they were managed.

Results: Lifetime prevalence of sustaining at least one theater-related head impact was 67%. Thirty-nine percent of respondents reported more than five lifetime head impacts; 77% reported three or more. Of those who struck their head, 70% experienced concussion-related symptoms, but continued participating. Nearly half of those did not report the incident. Twenty-eight percent of those diagnosed with a concussion by a healthcare provider were not given recommended care.

Conclusions: Theater personnel are likely to sustain several occupational head impacts. They appear hesitant to report possible concussions and generally do not access definitive, evidence-based healthcare for head injuries.

Laboratory for Science and Health in Artistic Performance (SHAPe Lab), School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness, College of Health Sciences and Professions, Ohio University (Dr Russell); Ohio University, Athens (Ms Daniell); Marietta Memorial Hospital, Fort Frye High School, Beverly, Ohio (Ms Daniell).

Address correspondence to: Jeffrey A. Russell, PhD, School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness, Ohio University, Grover Center E182, Athens, OH 45701 (

Funding to disclose: None.

Conflicts of Interest: None declared.

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Copyright © 2018 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine