Disparities in Use of Subspecialty Concussion Care Based on Ethnicity

J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2020 Jun;7(3):571-576. doi: 10.1007/s40615-019-00686-6. Epub 2020 Jan 2.


Concussion is common and subspecialty care can be essential to ensure recovery. However, barriers may exist to accessing care. This study aimed to assess disparities in subspecialty concussion care related to ethnicity, limited English proficiency (LEP), and insurance status. We utilized logistic regression to analyze 2010-2015 administrative data from four Sports Medicine clinics, comparing odds of being seen for concussion to odds of being seen for fracture by ethnicity, insurance type, and interpreter usage, controlling for demographic factors. ICD-9 codes were used to identify concussion and fracture. Our final sample contained 25,294 subjects: 5621 with concussion and 19,673 with fracture. In bivariate analysis, youth seen for concussion had 83% lower odds of being Hispanic compared with youth seen for fracture (95%CI: 75-92%). Due to interactions between ethnicity and interpreter use, we utilized a stratified multivariate model as our final model. Youth with concussion had 1.8× greater odds of having private insurance compared with youth with fracture (Hispanic OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.5-2.3; Non-Hispanic OR 1.8, 95% CI 1.7-2.0). Youth with concussion also had greater odds of not using an interpreter, though the strength of this association was weaker for Hispanic youth compared with non-Hispanic youth (Hispanic OR 1.68, 95% CI 1.30-2.17; Non-Hispanic OR 4.36, 95% CI 3.00-6.35). Age and sex were included as covariates. In conclusion, our analysis suggests disparities in subspecialty concussion care for Hispanic youth, as well as for individuals with LEP and non-private insurance. Further research should explore means for improving access to concussion care for all youth.

Keywords: Access; Adolescent; Brain concussion; Child; Disparities; Ethnicity; Hispanic; Limited English proficiency; Spanish.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Concussion / therapy*
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Healthcare Disparities / ethnology
  • Healthcare Disparities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / ethnology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Washington / ethnology