Abstract

Objective: Research has shown substantial misconceptions regarding return-to-play (RTP) guidelines following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI)/concussions among the general public. The purpose of this study was to explore the current levels of misconceptions among college students and healthcare professionals. Method: Thirty-nine questions used in a previous survey by Rosenbaum and Arnett (2010) were used currently. One hundred fifty-three healthcare professionals (mean age = 43.44, SD = 12.81; 67% female; 87% white) and 415 undergraduate students (mean age = 20.63, SD = 5.23; 70% female; 64% white) were surveyed regarding their knowledge of RTP guidelines. Healthcare professionals were defined as physicians, nurses, and athletic trainers. Results: Multidimensional chi-square analyses were examined. Results indicated the pattern of responding was significantly different among healthcare professionals and undergraduate students (χ2(1) = 74.16, p < .001). Healthcare professionals responded accurately 84% of the time, whereas undergraduate students responded accurately 78% of the time. Chi-square analyses indicated no significant differences in the response pattern of athletic trainers (84% accuracy) and physicians (86% accuracy, χ2(1) = 2.24, p = 0.135). Significant differences were found when athletic trainers and physicians were combined (85% accuracy) and compared to nurses (81% accuracy, χ2(1) = 13.43, p < .001). Item level analysis revealed one question (“an athlete who gets knocked out after a concussion is experiencing a coma”), was incorrectly endorsed by 77% of physicians and 96% of athletic trainers. Conclusion(s): Frequency of misconceptions of RTP guidelines is significantly influenced by education and training within healthcare professionals. Current percentage of misconceptions is an improvement from older estimates.