An exploration into perceived concussion management practices within a varsity athletic setting
LE3 .A278 2022
Bachelor of Kinesiology
CHAPTER 2: Manuscript 2.1 Abstract Previous research has identified concussion stigma, including underreported and undiagnosed concussions as a major issue in sports medicine. Concussion tools and protocols are continuously being updated, but efficacy is impacted by unique perceptions, behaviours, and attitudes towards concussions. Effective concussion management systems should involve internal investigations of multiple stakeholder groups to explore complex socioecological networks, factors, and problematic areas to help implement fundamental change. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate various attitudes, behaviours, and knowledge about concussions in a single varsity athletics setting. 8 collision sport varsity athletes (22±2.14; 4 males, 4 females), 3 collision sport varsity coaches, and 8 student athletic therapists (20.74±0.71; 6 females, 2 males) participated in semi-structured individual interviews which explored the experiences and perceptions of SRC and concussion management within the varsity setting. A grounded theory methodology was employed to code all data and identify emerging themes. Regardless of concussion knowledge, factors within the intrapersonal, interpersonal, and cultural networks of athletes were found to negatively affect institutional policies and concussion protocols. Psychological factors and the culture of sport (i.e., internal/external pressures, social/academic isolation) were found to negatively affect concussion protocol efficacy. Concussion nondisclosure may be increased due to internalized values such as commitment to sport, mental/physical toughness, and normality of “getting your bell rung.” Participants advocated for increased social, psychological, and academic support during concussion management. Participants proposed that management strategies should directly address dangerous perceptions, attitudes, and behaviours through improved concussion education and increased conversation within all stakeholder groups to help reinforce positive concussion intentions. These findings could be used by academics and health professionals within the institution to make meaningful changes to current concussion management. Further inquiry into the effectiveness of different intervention strategies should be further explored.
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