Parent Knowledge and Perceptions of Concussion Related to Youth Football

Cureus. 2018 Mar 4;10(3):e2268. doi: 10.7759/cureus.2268.


Introduction There is increased concern about concussion in youth athletes, yet there is little research on parent knowledge of concussion. Purpose The purpose of the current study was to investigate attitudes to and knowledge of concussion among parents of youth football players. Methods We surveyed 180 parents/guardians of youth football players, ages 5-12, regarding their knowledge and beliefs concerning concussion. Results We found that the vast majority of respondents (86%) had confidence in their ability to recognize concussions. Yet, a significant number also held misconceptions about concussions, such as 'too much sleep' (48%) or 'eating certain foods' (26%) make concussion symptoms worse. Most (82%) had not heard of the Zurich guidelines, and less than half (44%) were aware that sustained mental activity could worsen symptoms. Parents were concerned about their child sustaining a concussion, but a substantial minority also reported 'serious concern' about their children losing playing time or their position. Discussion Results are somewhat positive in terms of parents' general knowledge of concussions; yet, response variability and misconceptions point to a continued need for concussion education for parents. Medical professionals can play an important role in informing families about concussion symptoms, management, and recovery.

Keywords: concussion; education; parent; pediatric; sport; youth football.