Sports-Related Concussion in Adolescent Gaelic Games Players

Sports Health. 2019 Nov/Dec;11(6):498-506. doi: 10.1177/1941738119875978. Epub 2019 Oct 8.


Background: Gaelic games are some of the most popular sports played by Irish adolescents, and the Gaelic Athletic Association has undertaken educational initiatives to improve awareness of a sports-related concussion (SRC). However, SRC underreporting is common among adolescent athletes internationally, potentially due to poor knowledge or attitudes toward SRC. This study aimed to examine previous experiences with, knowledge of, and attitudes toward reporting SRCs, as well as views on future education in adolescent Gaelic games players and their parents.

Hypotheses: The hypotheses were as follows: (1) A significant number of adolescent Gaelic games players will have experienced an SRC, (2) nondisclosure of SRCs will be common, and (3) adolescents will display poorer attitudes toward reporting than parents.

Study design: Cross-sectional study.

Level of evidence: Level 3.

Methods: Adolescent male and female Gaelic games players (n = 113) and parents (n = 151) completed an anonymous questionnaire examining previous experiences with, knowledge of, and attitudes toward reporting SRCs, as well as views on future SRC education initiatives.

Results: Overall, 57.5% of adolescent Gaelic games players suspected they had suffered an SRC previously, and a greater number of suspected SRCs were reported than were medically diagnosed. Adolescent players (mean score, 11.4/14) and their parents (mean score, 11.8) displayed good knowledge of SRC signs and symptoms. However, adolescents were less likely to report an SRC during an important game or if an important game was coming up. Both adolescents and their parents would like more SRC education, particularly in the format of online videos or medical professional-led workshops.

Conclusion: Underreporting of SRC occurs in adolescent players, despite good knowledge of SRC signs and symptoms. Education is required to highlight the importance of completing a return-to-play program after an SRC regardless of match importance.

Clinical relevance: A multifaceted educational strategy that targets the wider Gaelic games community in the preferred formats identified by key stakeholders is required.

Keywords: Gaelic football; camogie; hurling; nondisclosure; sports-related concussion.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Athletes / psychology*
  • Athletic Injuries / epidemiology*
  • Brain Concussion / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Ireland / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires