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Enlighten Me: Survey shows parents, coaches have more to learn about concussions

Delaware Public Media

A new report says parents and coaches still may not know when to seek emergency attention for kids who suffer head injuries or when it’s safe for them return to playing sports, despite increased media attention about concussions.

The study from Nemours found that almost 40 percent of coaches said they would do something other than removing a child from play and not allowing them back before they saw a doctor after a blow to the head.

Parents fared worse in the study at 51 percent. The survey found that more than half of parents didn’t know it was OK to let a child sleep after a concussion, popular to contrary belief.

Dr. Kate Cronan, medical editor of and emergnecy room physician at Nemours A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children, says while she isn’t exactly surprised by the results of the study, more needs to be done to educate coaches and parents.

"It tells me we need to do a lot more education," said Dr. Cronan. "Even though it’s on the news frequently and everyone is aware of what a concussion is, or at least the basics, I’m not too surprised the parents or the coaches don’t know exactly what to do."

A new study from Nemours shows a majority of parents do not know to seek emergency medical attention for their children or refuse to let them return to playing a sport before seeing a doctor after a head injury.

51 percent of parents would not follow the so-called “return to play” rule. About 40 percent of coaches said they wouldn’t either.

Dr. Cronan adds she doesn’t think the findings should necessarily discourage parents from letting their kids play sports. She says promoting physical activity is important, but parents should have the information needed to make an informed decision.

"I do think we should be honest and tell families, if they don’t know already, that by playing certain sports there is a greater risk of a concussion," said Dr. Cronan. "But it doesn’t mean they should put their child in a bubble and not let them play sports or any particular sports.'

Cronan says more education could help, as well as coaches making sports safer by encouraging players to lower their intensity during practices.