Melissa N. Anderson, Dr. RJ Elbin, & Mackenzie Brown. University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas; e-mail: mna004@uark.edu

Sport-related concussions (SRC) are a serious brain injury that influences physical, cognitive, emotional, and social functioning, and may impair academic performance when undetected or clinically mismanaged. To date, the majority of concussion research has exclusively focused on varsity university athletes, which is a small representation of the overall university student body compared to intramural and club sport participants. It is unknown how many SRC occur at the intramural level, however, it has been estimated to be significantly higher than the approximately 5% at the varsity intercollegiate level. The lack of research is problematic because it puts a large, understudied population at risk for increased physical, cognitive and academic difficulties following SRC. PURPOSE: This study investigates the instances of mild traumatic brain injury in collegiate intramural athletes as well as accessibility to medical care and knowledge of the injury. METHODS A total of 655 male and female collegiate aged intramural and club sport athletes at four southern universities completed a survey that assessed demographic information, previous concussion history, concussion knowledge, and barriers to seeking medical care for concussion. Descriptive statistics (e.g., means, standard deviations, percentages) were used to describe demographics, concussion history, concussion knowledge, and barriers to medical care among respondents. RESULTS: Approximately 6.4% of 655 athletes reported a medically diagnosed concussion during club sport or intramural sport participation. In addition, 64.2% of this group reported experiencing academic difficulties and 81.4% did not seek academic accommodations. 36.6% of athletes reported having his or her “bell rung” during a game or practice with 9.5% of this group experiencing academic difficulties. Of this group 57% had medical coverage at games. CONCLUSIONS: Intramural and club athletes are a large population that is often not taken into consideration when researching SRC. However, these groups report a higher incidence of SRC than in varsity athletes (5.5%) and deserve to be part of the discussion.

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