Methods: An internet link to a confidential survey was sent to high school football players who had participated at the varsity level. The survey asked the athletes about their previous concussion history, level of comfort in recognizing concussion symptoms, awareness of potential long-term health risks, and if their attitudes have changed as information has become more readily available. Questions were presented in multiple choice format and respondents were not required to answer all questions. The responses were only available to the researchers.
Results: A total of 134 responses were obtained. Of the respondents, less than 10% reported that they have been diagnosed with a concussion by a physician or team trainer, while 32% reported concussion-like symptoms at some point over the past two years but did not seek medical attention. Of these respondents, over half stated that they did not seek attention due to concerns of being excluded from play. 53% of athletes noted that they are more aware of concussion symptoms than they were when entering high school. However, only 38% reported that they are concerned about the long-term effects of concussions.
Conclusion: Despite the influx of information from scientific research and popular media outlets such as ESPN and Sports Illustrated, high school athletes do not have a substantial increase in concern for the potential effects from traumatic brain injuries suffered during play. While awareness of symptoms has improved, there is still a great need for education of players, coaches, and parents in order elucidate the possible consequences of concussions.