A technology-enabled electronic incident report to document and facilitate management of sport concussion: A cohort study of youth and young adults

Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Apr;98(14):e14948. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000014948.


Despite the widespread awareness of concussion across all levels of sport, the management of concussion from youth to college is inconsistent and fragmented. A fundamental gap contributing to inconsistent care is the lack of a scalable, systematic approach to document initial injury characteristics following concussion. The purpose of this study was to determine differences in injury profiles and management of youth, high school, and college athletes using a mobile application for incident report documentation.A cohort study was conducted in which concussion electronic incident report data from 46 high schools and colleges, and Cleveland Clinic ambulatory concussion clinics were gathered and analyzed.In sum, 1421 (N = 88 youth, N = 1171 high school and N = 162 college) athletes with sport-related concussions were included.Despite the relative absence of red flags, youth athletes had a greater probability of being sent to the emergency department than high school and collegiate athletes. Over 60% of athletes were removed from play immediately post-injury. Injury recognition was delayed in 25% of athletes due to delayed symptom reporting (20% of males, 16% of females) or delayed symptom onset (5% of males, 9% of females). A significantly greater incidence of red flags was evident in males, and in high school and collegiate athletes compared to youth athletes.The high frequency of youth athletes sent to the emergency department, despite the absence of red flags, may be a reflection of inadequate medical coverage at youth events, ultimately resulting in unnecessary utilization of emergency medicine services. The relatively high incidence of delayed injury reporting implies that additional educational efforts targeting student-athletes and the utilization of resources to improve injury detection are warranted. The systematic collection of injury-related demographics through the electronic mobile application facilitated interdisciplinary communication and improved the efficiency of managing athletes with concussion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletes / statistics & numerical data
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Athletic Injuries / therapy
  • Brain Concussion / diagnosis
  • Brain Concussion / epidemiology*
  • Brain Concussion / therapy
  • Emergency Medicine / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Interdisciplinary Communication
  • Male
  • Mobile Applications / standards
  • Patient Care Management / standards
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Management / methods*
  • Schools
  • Sports Medicine / standards
  • Sports Medicine / statistics & numerical data*
  • Students
  • Universities
  • Young Adult