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Concussion in rugby: knowledge and attitudes of players

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Irish Journal of Medical Science (1971 -) Aims and scope Submit manuscript



Concussion is a traumatic brain injury, resulting in the alteration of mental status with or without loss of consciousness. There is increasing awareness that recurrent concussion may contribute to long-term neurological complication.


To determine player knowledge and attitudes regarding concussion. To identify sources of information and medical care, and to estimate the incidence of concussion in this group. To determine if player gender and grade of competition are associated with differences in knowledge, attitudes, medical care, and incidence.


Five rugby teams were recruited and players invited to complete a paper-based questionnaire. The questionnaire sought information on player demographics, knowledge level, attitudes and concussion experience.


90.8 % of players knew they should not continue playing when concussed. 75 % of players would continue an important game even if concussed. Of those concussed, 39.1 % have tried to influence medical assessment with 78.2 % stating it is possible or quite easy to do so. Males are less likely to worry about long-term effects of concussion (χ 2 = 9.23, p = 0.026). Club players are less likely to have medical care at training (χ 2 = 28.2, p < 0.001) or matches (χ 2 = 19.47 p < 0.001).


Despite good knowledge of concussion complications, management players engage in unsafe behaviour with little difference between gender and competition grades. Information regarding symptoms and management should be available to all players, coaches, and parents. Provision of medical care should be mandatory at every level of competition.

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I would like to express my appreciation to Professor Michael Molloy for his invaluable guidance while undertaking this project. I would like to thank Dr. Colm O’Tuathaigh and Ms Eileen Duggan, University College Cork for their advice regarding questionnaire design, data analysis and report presentation. I wish to thank Kelly Sarmiento and Dr. Ann Glang for granting me permission to use questionnaires from their respective research studies. This project received no funding.

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I can state that the authors had no competing interests.

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Research participants were required to provide written informed consent to participate in the study.

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Correspondence to E. O’Connell.

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O’Connell, E., Molloy, M.G. Concussion in rugby: knowledge and attitudes of players. Ir J Med Sci 185, 521–528 (2016).

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