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Abstract

High school coaches’ knowledge regarding the recognition and management of concussive injuries in adolescent athletes has not been assessed in New Jersey. The purpose of this study was to assess high school coaches’ knowledge, attitudes, and practices regarding recognition and management of concussive injuries in athletes. A cross-sectional anonymous 15-item web-based survey of high school coaches in New Jersey was performed between May 2010 and June 2010. Chi-square and Fisher’s exact tests were used to compare proportions, and t-tests and analysis of variance were used to analyze group differences for normally distributed continuous data. When data were missing, these responses were excluded from the analysis. All significance testing was conducted at the alpha.05 level. This study yielded a response rate of 45% (537/1197) among coaches who were contacted. Respondents were primarily male (60%) from the largest public schools. The average number of years of coaching was 11 years. Substantial gaps in knowledge were identified among responding coaches. Only 16.9% of coaches correctly described concussion as a chemical disruption; 16% knew that adults recover more quickly from a concussion than teens, and less than half (42.5%) knew that the size of a teen’s skull in proportion to their neck and frame would make them more vulnerable to whiplash-like effects. The results indicate the need for formal coaching education programs.

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