Relationship between concussion history and concussion knowledge, attitudes, and disclosure behavior in high school athletes

Research Team Members:

Johna K. Register-Mihalik, PhD, LAT, ATC1,2, Tamara C. Valovich McLeod, PhD, ATC, FNATA3; Laura A. Linnan, ScD4; Kevin M. Guskiewicz, PhD, ATC, FNATA1,2; Stephen W. Marshall, PhD2,5

  1. Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  2. Injury Prevention Research Center, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  3. Athletic Training Programs and School of Osteopathic Medicine, A.T. Still University
  4. Department of Health Behavior, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  5. Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

canstockphoto20448169Why did you do this study?

Disclosure of concussion is the primary way a concussion is identified in an individual and that the individual ultimately ends up receiving medical care. Recent studies, including those in our research center, have illustrate gross under-reporting and lack of disclosure of concussion among athletes of all ages. However, little is known or understood about factors that may influence concussion disclosure / reporting behaviors.

Our study sought to identify the influence that a previous history (experience) with concussion may have on such behaviors. In addition, our study sought to understand how previous history of concussion may influence knowledge and attitudes about concussion overall. Our study findings can be used in the refinement and development of prevention and management related materials for concussion in high school sport.

What did you do and what did you find in this study?

We measured concussion-related knowledge, attitudes, and self-reported disclosure behaviors using a cross-sectional survey among high school athletes. We observed negative trends in concussion disclosure among those with a positive concussion history (more concussions). In addition, we observed decreased attitude scores in those individuals with a more pronounced concussion history.

canstockphoto1399627How do these findings impact the public?

These findings illustrate the need for targeted interventions among those with a previous history of concussion to improve concussion-related attitudes and to improve disclosure of subsequent concussions among these individuals. Clinicians, coaches, and parents should be mindful of an individual’s concussion history, as those with more concussions may be less likely to report their injuries. We are continuing to build off of this study and our previous work understanding behaviors around concussion in current projects evaluating various interventions in the prevention and management of concussion.

Reference (published): Register-Mihalik, J. K., Valovich McLeod, T. C., Linnan, L. A., Guskiewicz, K. M., & Marshall, S. W. (2016). Relationship Between Concussion History and Concussion Knowledge, Attitudes, and Disclosure Behavior in High School Athletes. Clin J Sport Med. doi:10.1097/JSM.0000000000000349