Factors Associated With Delayed Concussion Reporting by United States Service Academy Cadets.

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Faculty Learning Innovation Collaboration and Research

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Journal of athletic training

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CONTEXT: Approximately half of individuals who sustain a concussion do not immediately report their injuries. Motivators for not reporting include thinking the suspected concussion was not a serious injury and wanting to continue participating in activity. Additionally, military personnel have concerns about how concussions may affect their careers. However, delayed reporting can prolong neurobehavioral recovery. Understanding the frequency of delayed reporting and contributing factors will aid in identifying individuals who may be more likely to delay reporting.

OBJECTIVE: To describe the frequency of delayed concussion reporting by service academy cadets and determine if sex, injury setting, sport level, or medical history is capable of predicting delayed reporting.

DESIGN: Cohort study.

SETTING: Service academies.

PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS: A total of 316 patients with concussions were observed from January 2014 to August 2016.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): All cadets completed an annual concussion baseline collection of demographic, medical history, and sports participation information. Delayed concussion reporting served as the outcome variable. Predictor variables were sex, injury setting, and sport level, as well as concussion, headache, and learning disorder history. Frequencies were calculated to describe the proportion of participants who delayed reporting. Univariable and multivariable logistic regression models were used to assess if the predictor variables were associated with delayed concussion reporting. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals were calculated for all variables included in the final model.

RESULTS: Of the patients with concussion, 51% were classified as delayed reporting. In univariable models, females (OR = 1.70) and National Collegiate Athletic Association cadet-athletes (OR = 1.98) were more likely to delay reporting than males and intramural cadet-athletes, respectively. The multivariable model yielded similar findings.

CONCLUSIONS: Roughly half of the cadets who sustained a concussion failed to immediately report their injury. Specifically, our data suggested that female cadets, cadets injured outside of competition, and highly competitive cadet-athletes were almost twice as likely to delay reporting as others.

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