Concussion reporting rates at the conclusion of an intercollegiate athletic career

Clin J Sport Med. 2014 Jan;24(1):76-9. doi: 10.1097/01.jsm.0000432853.77520.3d.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore the current reported, unreported, and potentially unrecognized concussion rates among collegiate student-athletes who have completed their collegiate athletic career.

Design: Retrospective survey.

Setting: College and University athletic training rooms.

Participants: One hundred sixty-one collegiate student-athletes (56.5% women; aged 21.5 ± 1.3; 3.7 ± 1.0 years of collegiate athletic experience) from 10 institutions who had either completed their intercollegiate athletic eligibility or were no longer participating.

Main outcome measures: The self-reported concussion rate, the unreported rate and reasons, and the potentially unrecognized concussion rate.

Results: The self-reported concussion rate was 33.5% (54/161), and 22.2% (12) self-reported at least 3 concussions. The unreported rate was 11.8% (19/161), and the potentially unrecognized rate was 26.1% (42/161) with the most common unrecognized symptom being "knocked silly/seen stars" (23.6% [38/161]).

Conclusions: Overall, 49.7% of all respondents (80/161) reported 1 acknowledged, unreported, or potential concussion. The unreported rate was lower than previous high school studies; however, the potentially unrecognized rate remains high and should be clinically concerning. These findings suggest educational interventions targeting collegiate student-athletes should remain and continue to focus on identifying concussion symptoms and dispelling the common misconception that "bell ringers" and "dings" are not concussions.

MeSH terms

  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Brain Concussion / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult