Parental Misconceptions Regarding Sports-Related Concussion

Saturday, October 11, 2014
Indigo Ballroom C (Hilton San Diego Bayfront)
Carolina Z. Piasek, M.D.1, Allison Farfel, B.A.1, Tracy Zaslow, M.D.1, Rita V. Burke2, Bianca Edison, M.D., M.S.1, Anita Herrera Hamilton, Ph.D., ABPP-CN1, Garrett A Salzman3, Shelby L. Bachman3, Ann C. Lin3 and Jeffrey S. Upperman, MD3, (1)Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, (2)Division of Pediatric Surgery, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, (3)Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

Purpose: Youth sport participation fosters a child’s physical, physiological, and social development. Although, with a pervasive risk of injury. Concussion, a form of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), accounts for 5-9% of all sports-related injuries; between 1.6 and 3.8 million sports-related concussions occur annually in the United States. Each year, US ERs treat an estimated 173,285 sports- and recreation-related TBIs, including concussions, among children and adolescents. Diagnosis and appropriate management of concussion is vital to recovery. Misdiagnosis or inadequate treatment can result in prolonged recovery including cognitive, behavioral and mood dysfunction. Parents of young athletes play a critical role in the recognition and care of concussive injury in their children. However, many parents who are unfamiliar with concussion symptoms and current concussion care guidelines lack the knowledge required to seek appropriate, specialized medical care in order to implement prescribed concussion management. The purpose of this study was to specifically identify common parental concussion misconceptions. Our hypothesis is that parents will demonstrate a number of misconceptions regarding concussions.  

Methods: After Institutional Review Board approval, a previously validated online survey adapted for this study was completed from May to December 2013 by two groups, parents/caregivers who had their children evaluated at an Orthopaedic Center Primary Care Sports Medicine clinics for musculoskeletal or mild traumatic brain injuries and parents of students attending a local private school.

A Concussion Knowledge Index (CKI) (scores 0 to 25) and a Concussion Attitude Index (CAI) (score 15 to 75) were calculated using the data collected. Higher score indicated higher knowledge. Scores were compared using t-tests and chi-square tests.

Results: Group 1: total of 227 surveys, 214 completed (N=214), Group 2: total of 349 surveys, 235 completed (N=235).

Both groups of parents seemed to have misconceptions in specific points: 1.Brain imaging (CT/MRI) demonstrate abnormalities with concussion; 2. “Bell ringer or ding” is a concussion; 3. Reduced breathing rate as a symptom; 4. Difficulty speaking as a symptom.

 Additionally, parents from group 1 that had received concussion education in the past had better CKI (20.47 vs. 19.08; p=0.01) and CAI (65.09 vs. 61.96; p=0.01), than those who had not.

Conclusion: The majority of the parents demonstrated poor knowledge on a few key points. These false perceptions may impact when medical care is sought after concussion and lead to less than optimal home care after a concussion. Many parents are in need of education regarding concussion identification and post-injury evaluation. Further, our findings suggest that previously, the provision of education and instruction improves parental knowledge and attitudes towards sports-related concussions. Thus, developing future parental education programs that address these misconceptions can be effective to enhance knowledge and understanding.