April 29, 2009


Some of the factors that have limited progress in this field are the public’s perception of sport-related concussions and attitudes toward competitive sports. Many people see a ding to the head in a contact sport, such as high school football, as a normal occurrence. They consider it an “accident” that should happen every so often. This lax attitude toward a preventable and potentially dangerous injury is not conducive to efforts that promote improved protective gear and education. Secondly, in all sports, most spectators and many coaches support players “shaking off” an injury. It is considered honorable to “take one for the team” and “get back in the game.” However, these attitudes are very unsafe when considering an athlete with a concussion. Athletes absorb these attitudes and may not report concussion symptoms in order to please coaches and fans. This puts athletes at a great risk of exacerbating the injury.

Public knowledge of the seriousness of sport-related concussion among adolescents must be improved in order for education and protective gear to be most effectively promoted. At an age where cognitive development is crucial, it is especially critical to protect adolescents from neurological damage. Continued research into the risk factors for concussions, successful educational programs, and valuable protective gear must be done in order to make progress in the prevention and control of this injury. Adolescents are not likely to stop playing these high-risk sports any time soon; thus, it is the role of injury prevention and control professionals to lessen that risk