Primary objective: To determine high school football coaches' understanding, management and sources of information of concussion at schools without a certified athletic trainer (ATC) or without one at practice.
Research design: Anonymous survey of head football coaches at New England high schools.
Methods and procedures: Surveys were mailed to 254 New England high school head football coaches. One hundred and nine (43%) surveys were returned, of which 62 respondents indicated there was no ATC either at the school or at practice. These 62 respondents were used for data analysis.
Main outcomes and results: Coaching associations and conferences were the two most common sources of information received about concussion. Coaches were significantly more knowledgeable about concussion than a general public sample, from which data were available from a prior study. When given potential symptoms of concussion, 70-95% of coaches reported that they would consult a healthcare professional before allowing a player to return to action, consistent with most return-to-play guidelines.
Conclusions: Participants demonstrated greater knowledge about concussions than the general public and most, but not all, coaches reported taking a conservative approach to concussion management. Ramifications of the results are discussed.