Term of Award

Spring 2012

Degree Name

Master of Science in Kinesiology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Health and Kinesiology

Committee Chair

Thomas Buckley

Committee Member 1

Trey Burdette

Committee Member 2

Barry Joyner


Context: Underreporting of concussions remains a large concern in the sports medicine community as previous studies have identified a 50 - 80% unreported rate. Further, previous studies have also suggested a lack of awareness of concussion symptoms. However, these studies tend to evaluate a single season of competition and many were amongst high school student-athletes. Objective: The purpose of this study was to explore the current reported, unreported, and potential unrecognized concussion rates among collegiate student-athletes who have completed their collegiate athletic career. Design: Cross sectional survey. Setting: Private setting within the respective host institutions athletic training room. Patients or Other Participants: 161 collegiate athletes who have completed their collegiate athletic career from 10 institutions were included in this study. The questionnaire, either pen and paper or online, was developed for this study and was based on previous findings on reasons for not reporting concussions and concussion misconceptions. Face validity was established with experts in the field and the internal reliability of this questionnaire was established (Cronbach's Alpha = 68) through pilot testing. Main Outcome Measures: The dependent variables included the participants' concussion self-reported rate, self-identified underreported concussion rate, main reasons for not reporting these concussions, and the potential unrecognized concussion rate. The reported and unreported rates were determined by a self-reported number. The potential unrecognized rates were identified by acknowledgement of common concussion symptoms which were not reported. All of these variables were reported with descriptive statistics. Results: Of all respondents, 33/5% (54/161) identified suffering at least one reported concussion during their collegiate athletic career. The acknowledged unreported rate was 11.85% (19/161) with the most common reasons being they didn't know it was a concussion and they didn't want to be pulled from future games/practices. The potential unrecognized concussion rate was determined to be 26.1% (42/161). Overall, 49.7% (80/161) endorsed at least 1 of the 3 main dependent variable. Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that collegiate student athletes may remain reluctant to report concussions and be unaware of common concussion symptoms. This study will assist athletic trainers in being able to better gear their athlete's concussion education process to specific areas such as symptom recognition and potential consequences.

Research Data and Supplementary Material