Increase Concussion Reporting By Changing ‘Play Through Pain’ and ‘Show No Weakness’ Sport Culture
Sport-related concussion is a growing health concern, particularly in collegiate populations.
Between 1.6 and 3.8 million sport- and recreation-related traumatic brain injuries occur annually in the U.S (1) and comprise approximately 5-9% of all high school and collegiate athletic injuries. (2) Approximately 40% of high school and collegiate student-athletes do not report their concussion symptoms to an authoritative figure. (3-5) Athletes who do not report their sport-related concussions can experience worse recovery outcomes (e.g., chronic post-concussion syndrome). (6) Student-athletes do not report sport-related concussion due to lack of awareness, fear of removal from participation, and not wanting to let their teammates down. (3, 5,7) Although raising awareness and improving sport-related concussion knowledge is critical, these outcomes do not guarantee changes in attitudes and reporting behaviors. (5, 8-10) Finding ways to change the culture of sport-related concussion is crucial to improving the health and wellness of student-athletes.
Sport-related concussion requires a change in our “play through pain” culture to ensure the short and long term health of our high school and collegiate student-athletes. The current “play through pain” and “show no weakness” culture may be appropriate for certain musculoskeletal injuries, but not brain injuries such as sport-related concussion. Programs that increase sport-related concussion knowledge and awareness and translate these changes into attitude and behavioral improvements toward sport-related concussion are critical for changing the sport culture.
The SmartTeam™ #TeamUp4ConcussionSafety concussion education program on this website aims towards changing the culture in athletes. Athletes need to be in a safe environment and feel that they will not be punished by their coaches or teammates if they report their sport-related concussion. This interactive website will provide coaches, athletes, and parents with information that will help change the culture of reporting behaviors of sports-related concussions.
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