Term of Award

Spring 2010

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Department

Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Thomas Buckley

Committee Member 1

Glen T. Burdette

Committee Member 2

Sarah Carson

Abstract

Currently there are an estimated 1.6-3.8 million concussions annually in the United States; therefore, it is imperative that healthcare professionals recognize these injuries to reduce future injury risks such as Second Impact Syndrome (SIS), depression, and Mild Cognitive Impairment. In order to reduce these risks, healthcare professionals need to find ways to increase the athletes' willingness to report their concussions. McCrea suggests that healthcare professionals need to promote open lines of communication for injury reporting. In searching for different means by which to promote lines of communication to increase the athletes' willingness to report concussions, two possible means were identified. The first would be to explore the relationship between the athletic trainer (AT) and the athlete (i.e. perceived closeness), and the second would be to explore the amount of autonomy support given by the healthcare provider. Objective: To investigate if closeness and autonomy support predict athletes' willingness to report their concussion symptoms. Design: Multiple Linear Regression using two independent variables (Health Care Climate Questionnaire - HCCQ, and Need for Relatedness Scale - NRS) and one dependent variable (Willingness to Report Scale - WRS). Participants: 108 high school and collegiate athletes (age=17.9 + 2.3 years). The participants completed a demographic sheet and three questionnaires. Main Outcome Measures: Autonomy support, perceived closeness, and willingness to report were the outcomes and were measured using three questionnaires. The Health Care Climate Questionnaire measured autonomy support. The Need for Relatedness scale x measured perceived closeness. The Willingness to Report Scale measured the willingness of athletes to report concussion symptoms to their AT. Results: Interestingly, findings indicated that perceived closeness predicted WR for only HS subjects. Specifically, perceived closeness significantly predicted 15.8% of the variance of WR for HS subjects (F=8.436, p=0.006). Conclusions: Because perceived closeness predicted willingness to report for high school subjects, it is suggested that high school athletic trainers develop closer relationships with their athletes to increase reporting of concussions. By developing a closer relationship there is a potential to increase concussion reporting, thus also potentially decreasing the risk of SIS and other long term effects of concussions.

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