The danger that head injuries present to athletes and others has finally been getting the attention it deserves in recent years, but there are still many unanswered questions. Earlier this year, for instance, one study found that numerous less severe “subconcussive” blows might be potentially more dangerous than a single serious concussion.
Other recent research indicates that the long-used practice of “cocooning” children and teens who may have suffered a concussion might not be the best approach and could actually delay their recovery.
A pre-med student at Utah State University has now added to what we know by uncovering differences in how athletes in different sports—and of different genders—report their injuries.
In his (so far) unpublished research, Josh Hansen collected data from athletes at more than 450 colleges and universities on their attitudes toward, knowledge of, and experiences with concussions. The findings haven’t been peer-reviewed or released yet, but they indicate that some of what we think we know about athletes and concussions might be wrong.
For instance, while it’s long been believed that concussions are underreported, the difference might be wider among men than women: Female athletes are more likely to report. Athletes in different sports also report at different rates, with the data revealing that football players are the least likely of all athletes to report.
Hansen also believes the data might reveal something about the strength of team identity. One surprise in the data is that there were no differences based on the race and ethnicity of athletes, or on their socioeconomic status. He thinks this might show that team identity has a stronger influence on athletes than their individual backgrounds.
This information will, Hansen hopes, lead to improvements in how head injuries are dealt with. For instance, knowing which athletes are less likely to report might encourage coaches and trainers in those sports (as well as parents) to exercise vigilance and be alert to the possibility of athletes hiding injuries.
Other work has already found that many concussions in athletes go unreported. Even when they report, athletes often downplay the severity of their symptoms.
Athletes are not the only ones at risk of concussion, and concussions are not the only kind of head injury to worry about. More people suffer concussions due to car crashes and falls than they do in sports. The risk to athletes, however, is often predictable and preventable, and repeated exposure makes them more likely to suffer long-term problems, such as CTE, a debilitating condition with no cure.
When you or someone close to you has suffered a head injury, contact Craig Swapp & Associates to discuss your case. Our attorneys have experience with brain and head injury cases of all kinds, and we offer a free consultation to all clients. Call us at 1-800-404-9000 or reach us online through the form below to schedule an appointment today. You can also launch the chat feature from any page of this website for more information.