Youth Concussion Management Practices Among Athletic Trainers: A Vignette-Based Survey

Reid Skeel, Anissa Maffett, Abigail Feder, Cayla Mitzkovitz, Sofia Lesica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Recovery protocols for treatment of sports concussion have received widespread adoption across the country. While stages of recovery and treatment are relatively clearly defined, there remains variability in implementation of specific recommendations, particularly regarding activities that constitute rest during stages calling for limitations on activity participation. Specific recommendations being employed by practitioners have not been previously assessed. In an aim to document current concussion management practices in the field, athletic trainers were surveyed regarding how activities that may constitute rest are utilized and defined. Design: The study was based on a cross-sectional vignette-based survey. Methods: The sample used was a geographically representative convenience sample of United States-based high school athletic trainers. E-mails were sent to 2146 potential survey respondents yielding a final sample of 226 athletic trainers. Data were gathered for questions concerning recommendations for follow-up care and rest based on provided vignettes, factors considered when developing recommendations, and differences in recommendations associated with varying symptom presentations. The percentage of practitioners that would utilize each potential recommendation was used to characterize results. Results: Participants demonstrated consensus on the importance of physical and cognitive rest as well as school accommodations (all greater than 97% endorsement). Greater variability was present for recommendations regarding pain medication for headache, repeating baseline cognitive testing, and engaging in subsymptom threshold activities. Recommendations for attending but not participating in games and practice yielded conflicting information. Conclusions: Responses indicated general consensus regarding factors considered when making recommendations. There was also consensus regarding general recommendations for activity limitation following recovery with almost all participants strongly recommending cognitive and physical rest, in accordance with consensus guidelines. However, substantial differences were found for specific activities that should be limited or encouraged following youth concussion. Further research concerning the relationship between community and social interaction and clinical outcomes after concussion is warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-76
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sport Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • head/brain
  • recommendations
  • rest


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