As students return to the classroom, student-athletes are also preparing to hit the field for the fall sports season. These young athletes rely on their parents and coaching staff to prepare them and help protect them from concussions and traumatic brain injuries, but new data from Abbott’s Concussion IQ Survey shows a large number of American adults do not understand even basic concussion information such as the signs and symptoms of brain injury.
The survey, conducted by KRC Research in collaboration with Abbott, a global healthcare company, surveyed over 1,000 adults living in the United States on general awareness and perceptions of concussion. The key findings include:
- Adults are five times more likely to seek medical attention for a broken bone compared to if they thought they had a concussion.
- Six in 10 adults don’t understand that treating a concussion includes mental rest, which may mean limiting time spent on cell phones, watching TV and other activities that could worsen symptoms.
- More than 80 percent of adults believe a person should not sleep and be woken up periodically after being diagnosed with a concussion.
- 64 percent of adults say they did not seek medical attention the last time they hit their head very hard, but 9 in 10 people would seek medical attention for a child.
- Almost 70 percent of parents would not send their child to school the day after they hit their head very hard, but over half say they would still go to work or school themselves after a hard hit to the head.
“Based on the survey results, it is clear there is a need to build more awareness and understanding about concussion,” says Dr. Beth McQuiston, a board-certified neurologist and medical director of Diagnostics at Abbott. “Parents, athletes, coaches and beyond need to be able to recognize signs of concussion to help people seek proper care and rest.”
Concussions, also referred to as mild traumatic brain injuries, occur when a collision or rapid movement causes the brain to shake or rattle inside the skull, causing hard to identify injuries to the brain that lead to symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, balance problems, nausea, vomiting, and increased anxiety.
According to estimates, four people in the U.S. experience a concussion every minute, yet it is believed as much as half of those injuries go unreported and unnoticed. While most concussions are relatively non-dangerous, they leave the brain vulnerable to more severe injury and require medical attention to ensure more dangerous complications do not arise.
Unfortunately, there are many common misconceptions that cause many to fail to recognize when a brain injury has occurred. One such misconception is the common myth that brain injuries can be identified singularly by loss of consciousness. In reality, less than 10% of brain injury cases included loss of consciousness.
The survey also showed many adults believe a person with a concussion should not be allowed to sleep or should be woken during the night following an injury. However, rest is highly important for allowing the brain to heal and is recommended for most who experience a brain injury.
“Quickly diagnosing a concussion is critical for doctors to recommend appropriate treatment and minimize further injury,” said Dr. McQuiston. “However, you can’t treat what you don’t know.”