Reporting Frequency Of Concussion In High School Football
Author: Bill Moreau, DC, DACBSP, CSCS Moreau Chiropractic Clinic, Estherville, Iowa
HISTORY: Football injuries account for more concussions than any other sport in North America. The actual frequency of concussion in high school football is controversial. The annual incidence of concussion in a single football player is identified in the literature as ranging from 3.6% to 47%.
PURPOSE: The purpose of the study was to examine the accuracy of reported incidences of concussion in high school football players. The actual frequency of concussion in high school football is controversial. The annual incidence of concussion in a single football player is identified in the literature as ranging from 3.6% to 47%.
METHODS: This study investigated the difference in the reported and nonreported incidence of concussion in 72 high school (grades nine through twelve) football players over the course of a single football season. A “reported incident” was defined as a concussion the football staff was aware of through recorded data. The coaching staff recorded data regarding any player who reported a concussion injury to the football staff or required follow-up evaluation by a health care provider for a concussion. To identify “non-reported concussion” an anonymous questionnaire regarding symptoms related to concussion was issued at the end of the football season to all 72-football players. The survey asked the athlete five questions. Two questions pertained to demographics. These two questions asked the athletes grade in school and the position they were playing when the concussion occurred. The question related to identifying for the athlete some of the common signs of concussion. The question read “During this past season did you experience any of the symptoms listed below immediately following a direct blow to the head or elsewhere on the body during a football practice or game?” The athlete was then asked to indicate any of these listed symptoms from a provided list that provide these choices; Knocked out (unconscious), memory deficits, Dizziness, Headache, Inability to focus (thinking), Blurred vision, Loss of coordination, Nausea (upset stomach), Difficulty concentrating, Unusual fatigue, Sleep trouble, Persistent ringing in the ears, Inability to remember. They were also invited to write in any other symptoms they felt were related to a head injury. Athletes were also asked these two questions; “Have you ever had this happened before?” and “Did you tell anyone about your injury?”
RESULTS: The results demonstrated 4 “reported” concussions resulting in an incidence of 5.6%. All 72 surveys to identify “non-reported” concussion were 1 returned. These surveys identified that 47 athletes sustained symptoms consistent with concussion during the season for an unreported rate of 65%. CONCLUSION: There is a significant difference in the incidence of concussion as reported to the coaching staff or health care providers verses symptoms of concussion experienced by the athlete.