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Survey: Many H.S. Football Players Unconcerned About Concussions

Only 38 percent of high school football players interviewed for a recent survey admitted concern about the long-term effects of sports-related concussions, according to a study presented Monday at the American Academy of Pediatrics national conference in New Orleans.

A total of 134 high school varsity football players responded to the confidential online survey, which asked about previous concussion history, concerns about the long-term effects of concussions, and how (if at all) attitudes had changed in recent years as more sports-related concussion research came to light.

Of the respondents, less than 10 percent of them reported having been diagnosed with a concussion by a physician or team trainer. However, 32 percent reported having concussion-like symptoms at least once in the past two years, yet they decided against seeking medical attention.

More than half the players who had concussion-like symptoms and didn't seek medical attention said they didn't do so because of concerns of being removed or excluded from their sport.

On the bright side, more than half of the athletes surveyed also said they were more aware of concussion symptoms than when they entered high school.

Clearly, though, work still needs to be done:

"Interestingly, 85 percent of respondents noted that they received a majority of their concussion knowledge from their coach or trainer, while less than 10 percent obtained information from media outlets including TV, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet," said study author Dr. Michael Israel of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, in a statement.

This study comes with the same caveats as the lack-of-sleep-tied-to-injuries study I wrote about on Monday: It was only presented as an abstract, and findings should only be considered preliminary until it gets published in a peer-reviewed journal.

Still, the lack of concern demonstrated by many of the student-athletes in the survey underscores just how much work remains in changing the culture around concussions in youth sports.

Speaking of concussion concerns: A handful of Pop Warner coaches and officials in Massachusetts were recently suspended and/or permanently banned after five players sustained concussions in one game, according to the Boston Globe.

The pee-wee players, all of whom were 10 to 12 years old, missed varying amounts of school because of the concussions. Both teams' coaches have been suspended for the rest of the season and placed on probation through the 2013 season, while the officials who worked the game were permanently banned by Central Mass. Pop Warner.

"Having multiple concussions in one game is something that should never happen, ever," said Patrick Inderwish, president of Central Mass. Pop Warner, to the Globe. "One concussion is too many."

According to the Globe, the officials should have implemented a series of mercy rules once one of the teams opened a 28-point lead, but they failed to do so. The final score of the game was 52-0.

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