Young Athletes' Concerns About Sport-Related Concussion: The Patient's Perspective

Clin J Sport Med. 2016 Sep;26(5):386-90. doi: 10.1097/JSM.0000000000000268.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletes / psychology*
  • Athletic Injuries / psychology*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Brain Concussion / etiology
  • Brain Concussion / psychology*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male