Sports-related concussions are now recognized as a major public health concern. However, despite the association of concussion with short- and long-term health consequences, many young athletes still lack basic knowledge about concussion and seem to believe that concussions may be "toughed out" and do not require medical attention. This study assessed self-reported practice of playing in training or a match while concussed among Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) athletes in Ireland aged 13-25 years old (M=19.19, SD=3.54). This study also assessed knowledge about and attitudes towards sports-related concussion in GAA players in Ireland.
Using a self-report questionnaire, data were captured electronically on GAA athletes aged 13-25 years old (n=80) regarding knowledge about the detection, assessment and management of sports-related concussion, as well as participant's attitudes towards concussion and self-reported practice of playing in training or a match while concussed. Data were collected from June to August 2013.
This study revealed that approximately one in four athletes reported having played while concussed in practice or during a match. Males were significantly more likely to play while concussed than females (40.9% and 17.2%, respectively). Results from this study indicated participants lack a complete understanding of concussion, as common misconceptions about concussion prevailed. Analyses revealed that participants generally have safe attitudes towards concussion and concussion management.
Generating awareness of the potential short- and long-term health consequences of concussion, coupled with the promotion of safer attitudes towards this injury, could minimize the number of players who return-to-play pre-maturely and promote a more safety-conscious sports culture in Ireland.