Concussion: Still Underreported
– Robert Cabry, M.D.
With the recent nearly $800 million settlement by the NFL, they are conceding that head injuries occurred and led to serious long term problems. Despite this and all we hear in the media about the seriousness of concussion, the problem is still significantly under reported. A recent study published this year showed that 4 out of 10 concussions are never reported by the athlete. When asked about the classic “bell ringer”, less than one out of seven are ever reported. With the recent push to educate players, coaches and parents about concussion the way we treat concussion has changed to protect the athlete from further injury. This doesn’t help if the athlete is reporting the injury.
It’s difficult to convince the invincible teenager that a head injury can have serious long term consequences. Studies show the most common reasons for not reporting a concussion was that it wasn’t serious enough, they didn’t want to let their teammates down or they didn’t want to be removed from play. What they don’t realize is that the consequences may be devastating. Symptoms such as Concentration problems, headaches and depression can be permanent. Here at Drexel Sports Medicine, players often present after multiple concussions and many will never resolve their symptoms.
One way to help the concussed athlete is to teach the players to recognize the signs and report when their teammate is hurt. Players wouldn’t hesitate to report a player lying on the field with a broken leg. Consequences of a concussion can be much worse. Sadly, recent studies have shown that even with more concussion education, athletes were not more likely to report the injury. The fear of not being able to continue playing was the main deterrent.
Another way to help improve reporting is to help the athlete understand by reporting their symptoms early they will get better faster and return to play sooner. Delaying treatment will delay recovery and potentially lead to more time being kept off the field.
The bottom line is that it’s difficult enough to be an adolescent. Now we want them to admit, in front of their friends that they are hurt and can’t play. We as coaches, parents and officials must remain alert to the signs of a concussion, checking the athletes that were just involved in a big hit or after a tough game. Put the player first and don’t push the envelope because their one of your best players. And players must be smart, honest and when in doubt sit the game out.
About Dr. Robert Cabry, M.D.
Dr. Cabry is Board Certified in Primary Care Sports Medicine. He specializes in non-operative orthopaedic and sports medicine, with a particular interest in treatment and prevention of concussions, exertional leg pain and osteoporosis. He performs musculoskeletal ultrasound, using this to guide injections. He offers PRP and prolotherapy for chronic injuries.
He is team physician for US Figure Skating and Williamson Free School. Spent six years in the United States Navy and was awarded two Navy Commendation Medals and the National Defense Medal. He was featured in Philadelphia Magazine’s “Super Doctors” in 2012 and was awarded “Top Doctor” in Sports Medicine 2014 by the Consumer’s Research Council of America.
• Medical Consultant, Collegiate Rugby Sevens
• Team Physician, US Figure Skating
• Team Physician, Williamson Trade School
• American Board of Family Practice
• Fellowship, Sports Medicine
• B.S. in Magna Cum Laude in Biology, Saint Joseph’s University
• M.D., Jefferson Medical College
• Internship in Family Practice, Jacksonville Naval Hospital
• Residency in Family Practice, Crozer-Keystone Health System
• Fellowship in Sports Medicine, Crozer-Keystone Health System
• Crozer-Chester Medical Center
• American Academy of Family Practice
• American College of Sports Medicine
• American Medical Society of Sports Medicine
• National Osteoporosis Foundation
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