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An Examination of 4 Questions Assessing Self-reported Concussions Among High School Students Participating in Team Sports

DePadilla, Lara PhD; Miller, Gabrielle F. PhD; Jones, Sherry Everett PhD, MPH, JD

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: November 28, 2018 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000901
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Objective: Current prevalence estimates of youth sports-related concussions are inconsistent because of variation in methodology and potentially unreported concussions.

Methods: In 2013, Connecticut, Ohio, and Utah each added different questions that assessed self-reported concussions to the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Two questions referenced recognition of a concussion by the student, 1 referenced identification by a doctor, and 1 referenced suspicion by a coach. Chi-square analyses were used to identify whether there was an association between demographic characteristics and the concussion questions among high school students who played on at least 1 sports team.

Results: The percentage of students who reported concussions ranged from 17.6% to 20.1%.

Conclusions: These estimates are higher than rates of concussions diagnosed in emergency departments or reported by athletic trainers but were similar across the 4 questions. The field would benefit from a better understanding of the impact of question wording and format on estimates of concussion prevalence.

Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention (Dr DePadilla) and Division of Analysis, Research, and Practice Integration (Dr Miller), National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, and Division of Adolescent and School Health, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (Dr Jones), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia.

Correspondence: Lara DePadilla, PhD, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Hwy NE, Mailstop F62, Atlanta, GA 30341 (lpo9@cdc.gov).

The authors thank the following Youth Risk Behavior Survey site coordinators for sharing their data: Michael Friedrichs, Utah Department of Health; Celeste Jorge, Connecticut Department of Public Health; and Angela Norton, Ohio Department of Health.

The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The authors do not have any conflicts of interest to disclose.

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