How Knowledgeable Are Americans About Concussions?

How Knowledgeable Are Americans About Concussions?

With 3.8 million concussions occurring each year in the U.S. (based on data from the Centers for Disease Control), it isn’t surprising that awareness about this serious injury is growing. With increased awareness, though, comes the increased possibility for confusion.

mother and sonUPMC commissioned Harris Poll to conduct an online survey in April among 2,012 U.S. adults to find out just how knowledgeable Americans are (or aren’t) when it comes to the subject of concussions. The findings of the survey proved pretty surprising.

The results showed that a large majority of Americans (85%) feel at least somewhat knowledgeable about concussions; however a majority of Americans don’t know many facts about concussions. Perhaps most surprising is that approximately 9 out of 10 (87%) Americans don’t know the correct definition of a concussion, even when given five explicit choices. Only a small percentage (13%) know that a concussion is an injury caused by direct or indirect forces that causes neurochemical and cellular changes in the brain.

While the survey showed that most Americans believe concussions are an important health concern, it also illustrated that there continues to be many misconceptions about concussions and the best way to treat them. For most Americans, fear of concussions consumes reality:

  • Approximately 9 out of 10 adults believe concussions are a moderate or serious health concern.
  • 41% feel that getting a concussion is living a nightmare.
  • 83% feel that people generally do not take concussions seriously enough.
  • 32% of parents live in fear that their child will get a concussion.
  • 25% of parents do not let their kids play some contact sports because of fear of concussions.

Despite Americans stating that they believe concussions to be a health concern, there is a lack of knowledge when it comes to some common signs and symptoms. Many Americans fail to identify some of the common signs and symptoms of concussions. In addition, the majority of Americans (79%) don’t realize that all concussions are treatable. The results of the survey clearly showed that there are still many misconceptions about concussions among the American public.

View the full report to see the survey’s other surprising findings when it comes to misconceptions about concussions.

harris poll report thumbnail

Click the image above to read the full report (PDF)


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