Background and objectives: In Canada and the USA, ice hockey is a cause of traumatic brain injury. Post-concussive symptoms are the most important feature of the diagnosis of concussion in sports and it is recommended that athletes not return to play while still symptomatic. Lack of knowledge of concussions could therefore be one of the main detriments to concussion prevention in hockey. The purpose of this research is to describe what minor league hockey players, coaches, parents and trainers know about concussion and its management.
Methods: A questionnaire to assess concussion knowledge and return to play guidelines was developed and administered to players at different competitive levels (n = 267), coaches, trainers and parents (total adults n = 142) from the Greater Toronto Area.
Results: Although a majority of adults and players could identify mechanisms responsible for concussion, about one-quarter of adults and about a quarter to a half of children could not recall any symptoms or recalled only one symptom of a concussion. A significant number of players and some adults did not know what a concussion was or how it occurred. Almost half of the players and a fifth of the adults incorrectly stated that concussion was treated with medication or physical therapy. Nearly one quarter of all players did not know if an athlete experiencing symptoms of concussion should continue playing.
Conclusions: This study demonstrated that a significant number of people held misconceptions about concussion in hockey which could lead to serious health consequences and creates a need for better preventive and educational strategies.