Sports-related concussion among professional, collegiate, and, more recently, high school athletes has received much attention from the media and medical community. To our knowledge, there is a paucity of research regarding parental knowledge of sports-related concussion. The aim of this study was to evaluate parental knowledge of concussion in young children who participated in recreational tackle football.
Parents of children aged 5 years to 15 years attending recreational tackle football games were asked to complete an anonymous questionnaire based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports Quiz. The parents were asked about their level of agreement regarding statements that represent definition, symptoms, and treatment of concussion.
A total of 310 of 369 parents (84% response rate) voluntarily completed the questionnaire, with 94% believing that their child had never had a concussion. However, only 13% (n = 41) could correctly identify all seven statements. Most did not identify that a concussion is considered a mild traumatic brain injury and can be achieved from something other than a direct blow to the head. Race, sex, and zip code had no significant association with correctly answering statements. Education (r = 0.24, p < 0.0001) and number of years the child played (r = 0.11, p = 0.049) had a small association. Fifty-three percent and 58% of the parents reported that someone had discussed the definition and the symptoms of concussion with them, respectively, with only about half reporting that information came from their health care provider. No parent was able to classify all symptoms listed as correctly related or not related to concussion. However, identification of correct concussion statements correlated with identification of correct symptoms (r = 0.25, p < 0.001).
While most parents of young athletes demonstrated some knowledge regarding concussion, important misconceptions remain regarding the definition, symptoms, and treatment of concussion. This study highlights the need for health care providers to increase concussion educational efforts.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE
Epidemiologic study, level II.