Parents Had Misconceptions About Concussions

Concussion symptoms and treatments were not common knowledge to all parents, but most knew to seek medical treatment

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) For parents of young athletes, safety on the field is a top concern. But some parents may have misconceptions about concussions.

Two recent studies looked at how much parents knew about concussions.

One study found that most parents knew that concussions required medical care. But both studies found that many parents had misconceptions about symptoms and treatment.

"It is important to recognize symptoms of a concussion because if a person were to continue to play the injury could become much more severe and have a complicated recovery," said Joseph Rempson, MD, director of the Center for Concussion Care and Physical Rehabilitation at Overlook Medical Center in Summit, NJ.

"Physical activity as well as another impact can make the injured area of the brain larger and the risk for second impact syndrome is higher," he added.

Concussions are the most common type of traumatic brain injury. They are often the result of a blow to the head, such as in contact sports like football. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, disorientation and impaired vision.

Most mild concussions resolve on their own within a few weeks if the patient is resting.

"A concussion should be taken seriously, but if they are managed appropriately then most cases recover with no long term damage," Dr. Rempson said.

The studies — presented Oct. 10 at the Peds21 symposium of the American Academy of Pediatrics conference — found that many parents had gaps in their knowledge about concussions. They did not know guidelines for concussion home care and were confused about some symptoms.

For instance, more than a quarter of parents surveyed did not know how to tell when their child could resume school and sports, according to a study led by Kirstin D. Weerdenburg, MD, of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

In the same study, very few parents could tell whether their child had a concussion.

In the other study, led by Carolina Z. Piasek, MD, parents had misconceptions about concussion symptoms.

Parents surveyed in this study believed that a reduced breathing rate and trouble speaking were symptoms, which is false.

But Dr. Weerdenburg and colleagues did find that 92 percent of the parents knew that, if they thought their child had a concussion, they should stop the child from playing and see a doctor.

"Our study showed that the vast majority of parents knew what to do if they suspected a concussion in their child and in most cases understood the clinical importance of this injury as a brain injury," Dr. Weerdenburg said in a press statement.

Dr. Piasek and colleagues found that about 70 percent of one group of parents and almost half of a second group in the study believed that CT and MRI scans could diagnose concussions, which is false.

The authors said that the parents lacked concussion knowledge on some key points. They said that parents may need more education on concussions to know when they should seek treatment for their children.


Review Date: 
October 7, 2014
Last Updated:
October 13, 2014