UBC Faculty Research and Publications

The Complexity of Concussion Management in Youth Ice Hockey : A Qualitative Analysis Black, Amanda M.; Omu, Onutobor; Brussoni, Mariana; Emery, Carolyn A.


Purpose: Although the public’s level of concussion awareness is increasing, there are still instances where youth play through concussion symptoms and where parents do not take their child with a suspected concussion to a physician for assessment and clearance. This study uses qualitative methodology to explore parent and coach experiences with concussion management in youth ice hockey and highlights potential barriers and facilitators to a coach removing a player from play due to a suspected concussion and parents taking their child to see a physician. Methods: Twenty-four hockey parents and coaches from Calgary participated in semi-structured interviews that explored participants’ experience with managing hockey concussion. Using thematic analysis, key barriers and facilitators to coaches appropriately removing a player from play and parents taking their child to see a physician were identified. Results: Some barriers to a coach removing a player from a game included not having the ability to perform an assessment in their role as coach and relying on the player to report their symptoms. An obvious severe mechanism of injury and established association protocols were identified as facilitators to a coach removing a player with a suspected concussion from play. Some barriers to physician follow-up included parents’ beliefs that the concussion symptoms were not severe and physician availability. Conclusions: Coaches, parents and players play a vital role in facilitating identification and appropriate concussion management. While further education of coaches and parents is indicated, it is important to also consider contextual factors that interfere with concussion management decisions.

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