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J Athl Train. 2015 Nov;50(11):1174-81. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-50.11.11. Epub 2015 Nov 5.

Concussion-Related Protocols and Preparticipation Assessments Used for Incoming Student-Athletes in National Collegiate Athletic Association Member Institutions.

Author information

1
Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention, Indianapolis, IN;
2
Human Movement Science Curriculum, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill;
3
National Collegiate Athletic Association, Indianapolis, IN.

Abstract

CONTEXT:

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) legislation requires that member institutions have policies to guide the recognition and management of sport-related concussions. Identifying the nature of these policies and the mechanisms of their implementation can help identify areas of needed improvement.

OBJECTIVE:

To estimate the characteristics and prevalence of concussion-related protocols and preparticipation assessments used for incoming NCAA student-athletes.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional study.

SETTING:

Web-based survey.

PATIENTS OR OTHER PARTICIPANTS:

Head athletic trainers from all 1113 NCAA member institutions were contacted; 327 (29.4%) completed the survey.

INTERVENTION(S):

Participants received an e-mail link to the Web-based survey. Weekly reminders were sent during the 4-week window.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S):

Respondents described concussion-related protocols and preparticipation assessments (eg, concussion history, neurocognitive testing, balance testing, symptom checklists). Descriptive statistics were compared by division and football program status.

RESULTS:

Most universities provided concussion education to student-athletes (95.4%), had return-to-play policies (96.6%), and obtained the number of previous concussions sustained by incoming student-athletes (97.9%). Fewer had return-to-learn policies (63.3%). Other concussion-history-related information (e.g., symptoms, hospitalization) was more often collected by Division I universities. Common preparticipation neurocognitive and balance tests were the Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing (ImPACT; 77.1%) and Balance Error Scoring System (46.5%). In total, 43.7% complied with recommendations for preparticipation assessments that included concussion history, neurocognitive testing, balance testing, and symptom checklists. This was due to moderate use of balance testing (56.6%); larger proportions used concussion history (99.7%), neurocognitive testing (83.2%), and symptom checklists (91.7%). More Division I universities (55.2%) complied with baseline assessment recommendations than Division II (38.2%, χ2 = 5.49, P = .02) and Division III (36.1%, χ2 = 9.11, P = .002) universities.

CONCLUSIONS:

National Collegiate Athletic Association member institutions implement numerous strategies to monitor student-athletes. Division II and III universities may need additional assistance to collect in-depth concussion histories and conduct balance testing. Universities should continue developing or adapting (or both) return-to-learn policies.

KEYWORDS:

evaluation; return-to-play guidelines; traumatic brain injuries

PMID:
26540099
PMCID:
PMC4732397
DOI:
10.4085/1062-6050-50.11.11
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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