Most of the coaches correctly identified symptoms of confusion (94%), headache (94%), dizziness (91%) and blurred vision (90%) as indicators of a concussion. Most also identified loss of consciousness (87%), nausea (82%) and amnesia (75%) as indicators of concussion, but fewer than half (42%) recognized sleep problems as a sign of concussion.
About one in 10 associated non-concussion symptoms as primary indicators of concussion, which suggests that they are unable to distinguish concussion symptoms from other injuries and lack in-depth knowledge or understanding about concussion, the researchers say.
Over 90% of coaches knew appropriate management strategies in typical concussion scenarios, but when faced with atypical scenarios, only 57% would appropriately remove an athlete from play.
"The coaches had really good knowledge about signs and symptoms of concussion," Madden told Reuters Health. "But when we looked at their overall management, they often weren't making the right decisions. This suggests that they know what to look for, but they don't necessarily know what to do, or they are uncertain, or there is some other conflict that is coming into play."...
This survey "underlies what we have been trying to push all along and that is to have an athletic trainer in every secondary school," said Cooper, who wasn't involved in the survey.
"With concussion evaluation and management, or any other type of injury, the athletic trainers are the health care professional that can do it, regardless of the sport, the event, the score, and provide even-keel medical evaluation," he said.
He added that coaches' ability to evaluate an athlete "with a neutral mind is sometimes lacking."
"Athletic trainers are the ones who should decide whether an athlete stays in the game or doesn't. Any coach in their right mind would not want to take that on, just because that is not what they are trained to do. We're the ones providing the health care, the coaches are the ones doing the coaching," Cooper said.
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