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Ski racers’ understanding of sports-related concussion and its management: are contemporary findings and clinical recommendations reaching the target audience, the racers themselves?
  1. Natalie Maxwell1,2,3,
  2. Lucy Redhead3,
  3. Evert Verhagen4,
  4. Jörg Spörri2
  1. 1 Department of Physiotherapy, Leukerbad Clinic, Leukerbad, Valais, Switzerland
  2. 2 Sports Medical Research Group, Department of Orthopaedics, Balgrist University Hospital, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  3. 3 School of Health Sciences, The University of Brighton, Brighton, United Kingdom
  4. 4 Amsterdam Collaboration on Health and Safety in Sports, IOC Research Centre for Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health, Department of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, Amsterdam UMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jörg Spörri, Department of Orthopaedics, University of Zurich, Balgrist University Hospital, Zurich 8008, Switzerland; joerg.spoerri{at}

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In the past two decades, there has been a revolution in literature relating to the epidemiology, aetiology, early recognition, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of sports-related concussion (SRC). This research has resulted in the publication of five international concussion in sport consensus statements.1 Are those recommendations impacting on pitch-side rulings and contributing to the real-life management of SRC? We ask: ‘Is evidence-based SRC information reaching those it concerns the most, i.e. the athletes?’2

Athletes’ understanding of concussion and its management within alpine ski racing: so far not so good!

Within alpine ski racing, SRC is the most frequent head injury.3 The International Ski Federation (FIS) has established SRC return-to-play guidelines,4 but athletes aim to dodge the guidelines by under-reporting their symptoms (eg, persistent headache, blurred vision),5 possibly resulting in premature return to sport. Besides this, athlete adherence to such guidelines may be impeded by insufficient understanding of the potential long-term consequences of SRC (eg, increased risk of reinjury, prolonged recovery from subsequent concussions, mild cognitive impairment or depression).

To better understand alpine ski racing athletes’ perceptions, beliefs and experiences of concussion, we conducted a qualitative interview study with 11 participants. These 11 participants were representatives from a world-leading ski association comprising 88 athletes. The underlying …

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  • Contributors NM and JS designed and conceptualised the paper. NM (supervised by LR and JS) conducted, analysed and interpreted the interviews. All authors contributed to the manuscript writing and approved the final version.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.