Objectives: To determine the compliance rate among hockey players with concussion or other head injuries who were advised by a physician about return to play. To assess compliance of hockey players with return to play advice and to assess the incidence of long-term post-concussion symptoms.
Methods: A retrospective chart review, telephone questionnaire and follow-up analysis of income, level of education and professional aspirations. The study examined 40 hockey players with concussion or other head injury treated at a neurosurgical ambulatory clinic, who had initial visits between 1995 and 2003, and had been seen at least two years prior to completing the questionnaire.
Results: There was a 58% (23 of 40) participation rate in the study. Fifteen (65%) of the 23 participants were advised to never return to play, and 5 (33%) were non-compliant and returned to play. Four (80%) of the five noncompliant players continued to suffer from post concussion symptoms. Overall, 15 (65%) of the 23 players participating in the study continued to suffer post concussion symptoms at least two years after the clinic visit.
Conclusions: Five (33%) of 15 hockey players advised to never return to play were non-compliant and returned to play, and four continued to suffer from post concussion symptoms two or more years later. After repeated concussions, 65% of hockey players had long-term sequelae that prevented return to play and produced long-term post-concussion symptoms.