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Epidemiology of athletic trainer services for concussions among us high school student-athletes
  1. Erin B Wasserman1,2,
  2. Zachary Y Kerr1,2,
  3. Thomas P Dompier1
  1. 1Datalys Centre for Sports Injury Research and Prevention, Indianapolis, USA
  2. 2Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Centre, Department of Exercise and Sport Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, USA


Objective This study examined athletic trainer (AT) services for sports-related concussion among high school (HS) student-athletes during the 2011/12–2013/14 academic years.

Design Descriptive epidemiology.

Setting Concussion data originated from the National Athletic Trainers Injury and Outcomes Network (NATION), a US-wide surveillance program comprised of a convenience sample of 127 HS. All concussions were diagnosed and reported by ATs.

Participants Our sample included 1662 concussions with service data among HS student-athletes from 22 sports; 48.0% were in football; 8.2% were recurrent. Of 607 concussions in sex-comparable sports, 52.7% were among females.

Assessment of risk factors We examined outcome measures by sport (American football vs. non-football), sex, and whether the concussion was reported as recurrent.

Outcome measures ATs reported the number and types of AT room visits and services. We compared the means of these measures by sport, sex, and recurrence using independent samples t-tests.

Main results There were 15,698 AT room visits reported (mean=9.5 per concussion; Standard Deviation [SD]=7.4). ATs provided an average 1.2 (SD=0.3) services per visit. No differences existed by sport or recurrence. In sex-comparable sports, females had a mean 12.2 (SD=10.5) visits compared to 9.5 (SD=7.0) among males (p<0.001). No sex differences existed in services per visit.

Conclusions There are more AT room visits per concussion among females than males in sex-comparable sports. This is likely related to previous research finding symptom resolution time is longer in females than males. Identifying concussions that will require more AT services may help with resource allocation and planning for ATs.

Competing interests This project was funded by the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Research and Education Foundation (NATAREF), and the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership (CICP) Foundation in cooperation with BioCrossroads. The content of this report is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily reflect the views of the NATAREF, CICP Foundation or BioCrossroads.

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