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High School Football Players Often Not Deterred by Head Injury

MONDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- Many U.S. high school football players say they would keep playing after experiencing a concussion, even though they know it would put them at risk for serious harm, a new study reveals.

The findings suggest that educating players about concussion may not be enough to keep them safe after they suffer this type of brain injury, according to the researchers.

The study authors surveyed 120 high school football players in the Cincinnati area and found that one-quarter of them had suffered a concussion, and that more than half said they would continue to play even if they had concussion symptoms.

Seventy percent of the players had been educated about concussion and most of them could identify common signs and symptoms, such as: headache (93 percent); dizziness (89 percent); difficulty remembering and sensitivity to light (78 percent); difficulty concentrating (76 percent); and feeling like they were in a fog (53 percent).

The study also found that 91 percent of the players understood that there was a risk of serious injury if they returned to play too quickly after a concussion, but only half said they would always or sometimes report their concussion symptoms to their coach. Some even said that athletes with a concussion have a responsibility to play in important games.

There was no association between players' level of knowledge about concussion symptoms and their attitudes about the injury, according to the study to be presented Monday at the Pediatric Academic Societies' annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

"In other words, athletes who had more knowledge about concussions were not more likely to report symptoms," study co-author Dr. Brit Anderson, a pediatric emergency medicine fellow at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, said in an American Academy of Pediatrics news release.

"These attitudes could leave young athletes vulnerable to injury from sports-related concussions," Anderson said.

"Although further study needs to be done, it is possible that concussion education alone may not be enough to promote safe concussion behaviors in high school football players," she concluded.

The data and conclusions of research presented at medical meetings should be viewed as preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about concussion in high school sports.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: American Academy of Pediatrics, news release, May 6, 2013

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