Psychosocial Components of Concussion Reporting Among Adolescent Athletes
Introduction: Addressing the current trends of underreporting concussion-related symptoms by adolescent athletes is a critical aspect of improving adolescent athlete health and longevity. The literature is replete with papers on educational interventions regarding concussion symptomatology, however, there is a relative lack of research on interventions that target the behaviors of the athlete. The goal of this study was to identify specific reasons why adolescent athletes may conceal concussions from medical personnel.
Methods: A qualitative phenomenological approach was employed using focus group discussions to identify common themes as barriers to concussion reporting. Topics such as injury history, knowledge of concussion symptomology, personal influences, and other psychosocial factors such as peer influences and masculinity were discussed. Data were coded individually by a research team member followed by a member check process to ensure the validity of the themes obtained.
Results: Nineteen high school varsity athletes participated in the focus groups. Four common themes were derived from the responses given by the participants: symptomatology awareness, external influences, selfpride, and current concussion educational program flaws. These themes were supported by participants as reasons why concussion symptoms may be withheld from medical personnel.
Conclusion: Applying the osteopathic tenet of a person being a unit of mind, body, and spirit, concussion education should aim to target the multiple behavioral aspects of each person rather than just concussion
symptomatology education. Findings from this study provide evidence to support the development of a reliable and effective concussion intervention program that leads to an increase in reporting among