3 new studies were released in the past few weeks stating that college players often do not self-report their concussions to their coaches after sustaining hits to the head. Moreover, the studies showed that offensive linemen are least likely to report concussions and less significant hits to the head.*
The studies were led by researchers at Harvard University and assisted by researchers at Boston University. Football players on ten Division I football teams were surveyed during the 2012 season. Researchers found that for every diagnosed concussion, players sustained six substantial hits that they suspected have might caused a concussion but did not report them. The players also reported that for every diagnosed concussion, they also received twenty-one smaller hits, but also did not report them. Therefore, players were underreporting concussions, substantial hits and smaller hits.
The authors of the studies stated that one of the hurdles to preventing and diagnosing concussions is educating players about identifying symptoms of brain-head injuries and the importance of reporting symptoms immediately. Results indicated that colleges did an inconsistent job of giving information about when and how to report concussions. What is more alarming is that 40% of the athletes did not remember receiving information about concussions and their responsibility to report concussion symptoms.
In our previous posts about head injuries associated with football, we often discussed the fact that the coaches and parents need to know the signs of concussions. As this research shows, it is also important to educate the players about signs of concussions, and the risk they are exposed to if players continue to play with a concussion.
Many players may not want to report their possible concussions because they do not want to let their coaches or teammates down. After sustaining a hit, they may tell the coaches that they are okay, and the coaches will continue to let them play. However, this is where the coaches need to step in to protect their players. Coaches need to know that players do not want to let their teammates down. If a coach sees that a player sustained a serious collision, and if the player does not report the hit or says that he is okay to play after the hit, the coach needs to have the player medically cleared before letting the player back on the field. If the team does not have a doctor at the game, the coach needs to err on the side of safety and bench the player until the player is evaluated by a doctor.
Daniel J. O'Brien, Esq. is a life-long athlete who has helped many victims of traumatic brain injuries. FREE case evaluation. 877.944.8396
*Source: www.nytimes.com (College Players Often Don’t Tell of Hits to Head, Studies Find)