Objective: Few studies have examined the experience and concerns of the concussed athlete. The purpose of this study was to identify the most pressing concerns of athletes with concussion.
Design: Cross-sectional survey of athletes who presented for evaluation of a new sport-related concussion during an 8-month period.
Setting: Tertiary-level sports medicine division of a large academic pediatric medical center.
Participants: One hundred twenty one patients (67 male, 54 female) aged 8 to 18 years who had sustained a sport-related concussion participated in the study by responding to "What is the worst thing for you about having a concussion?" on the study questionnaire. Questionnaires were completed in the clinic waiting room before the visit with a provider.
Intervention: Inductive content analysis was used to identify themes in the responses to the study question.
Main outcome measures: Age, sex, sport played at the time of the current injury, history of previous concussion, known contacts with concussion, and subjective report of worst aspect of concussion.
Results: Seventy respondents (57.9%) cited symptoms, and 68 (56.2%) reported loss of activity as the worst part of concussion, including 17 (14.0%) who listed both symptoms and loss of activity.
Conclusions: Over half of concussed athletes indicate that the most distressing part of the injury is loss of activities, which may result from symptoms of the injury itself and/or the prescribed treatment.
Clinical relevance: Health care providers should not underestimate the degree to which symptoms and loss of activities affect young athletes' general well-being. In addition to the negative impact of concussion symptoms, there is an obvious cost of physical, cognitive, and social activity restrictions for patients recovering from sport-related concussions that should be explicitly addressed.