Athletes who immediately stopped activity and reported symptoms of a concussion typically missed fewer days before returning to activity than athletes who delayed reporting such symptoms.
Although there is increased awareness about concussions and their consequences, many athletes fail to report their concussion symptoms to a medical professional or coach in order to continuing to participate in the sport. Researchers have found that athletes who are not immediately removed from activity are more likely to have a delayed recovery period of almost 5day compared to athletes who are immediately removed from sport. Athletes who fail to immediately report their symptoms and continue to play are also more than twice as likely to need more than a week before returning to play.
Overall, this research helps medical professionals and coaching staff by providing evidence that immediately reporting concussion symptoms may be associated with less time missed due to a concussion. It is believed that many athletes do not report symptoms for fear of not being able to participate; however, the studies suggests that not reporting symptoms may result not being able to play for a longer period of time. One reasonable explanation for these results is that athletes who withhold reporting their symptoms may actually be experiencing more head impacts, which may result in a more severe injury.
Questions for Discussion: What do you currently do to encourage your athletes to self-report concussions? Do you feel these approaches have been successful? Why or why not?