Background Concussions are a significant burden in youth ice hockey that can have serious health consequences if not identified and managed appropriately. Parents’ role in facilitating identification and appropriate concussion management as well as child education is vital. This project aims to understand parent and player concussion knowledge and potential barriers to physician diagnosis and appropriate return to play after concussion.
Methods Using a mixed methods study design, 63 players (ages 11–14) and 82 parents from Vancouver and Calgary (Canada) completed a survey on concussion knowledge. Qualitative interviews of 6 mothers and 7 fathers explored the barriers and facilitators associated with physician follow-up after a concussion.
Results All parents and 93.6% players identified concussion as a brain injury. When asked to identify concussion symptoms from a list with 8 concussion and 8 distractor symptoms, parents and players had similar mean scores (12.7 and 12.3/16 respectively). Only 50.8% of parents and 14.3% of players were able to identify the correct course of action for all three scenario-based concussion management questions. Finally, only 59.8% of parents and 11.1% of players recognised the term “graduated return to play protocol”. A preliminary analysis of themes from the interviews highlighted barriers to physician follow-up: Parents’ belief that the concussion was not serious, concussion symptoms resolving prior to physician visit, and physician availability. Facilitators of appropriate behaviour: Team personnel explaining to the parents the importance of physician visits at time of injury and a team protocol that enforces physician-based management.
Conclusions Concussion awareness is improving but there are still gaps in hockey parents’ and players’ understanding of management. Understanding beliefs, barriers and facilitators of proper concussion management behaviour may assist with reducing the consequences that can arise due to mismanagement.
- Sport-related concussion
- ice hockey
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