Concussion Knowledge and Experience within Welsh Amateur Rugby Union Coaches and Referees
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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bstract Objectives: To assess the level of knowledge and experience of various aspects of concussion amongst coaches and referees involved in Welsh amateur Rugby Union. Design: An online questionnaire was designed specifically for both coaches and referees. Setting & participants: 333 coaches and 283 referees from within Welsh amateur Rugby Union (youth and senior) were surveyed. Main Outcome Measures: Concussion symptom recognition, knowledge regarding the consequences of concussion, and knowledge of the current return-to-play protocols were investigated along with attitudes towards, and experiences of concussion within Rugby Union. Results: Participants exhibited greater knowledge regarding concussion symptom recognition (mean score: 89%) relative to knowledge regarding both the consequences of concussion (mean score: 73%) and its associated return-to-play protocols (mean score: 17%). There were no significant differences between coaches and referees in regard to any of these scores, nor between those with or without a personal history of concussion. The vast majority (95%) correctly stated that loss-of-consciousness was not required to be classed as concussed. Two-thirds of participants incorrectly believed that headgear could prevent concussion. Over a quarter (28%) of coaches reported having witnessed other coaches allowing a potentially-concussed player to continue playing, whilst 40% of referees had seen coaches pressure a potentially-concussed player to continue playing. Conclusions: The findings of this study demonstrate a clear need to further educate both coaches and referees about multiple aspects of concussion, especially in regard to its prevention, management and clinical consequences. Certain misconceptions are of high prevalence in both coaches and referees, which may point towards an increased iii prevalence of sub-optimal concussion management within Welsh amateur Rugby Union. Future educational strategies should adopt a multi-faceted approach to try and address these deficiencies in concussion knowledge, especially amongst coaches involved with youth (18 years and under) Rugby Union
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