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International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health

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Pediatric providers’ attitudes and practices regarding concussion diagnosis and management

Khalida ItriyevaORCID iD: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6156-3884
  • Corresponding author
  • Division of Adolescent Medicine, Cohen Children’s Medical Center, Northwell Health System, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, 410 Lakeville Road Suite 108, New Hyde Park, NY 11042, USA, Phone: +(516) 465-3270, Fax: (516) 465-5299
  • orcid.org/0000-0001-6156-3884
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Ronald Feinstein
  • Division of Adolescent Medicine, Cohen Children’s Medical Center, Northwell Health System, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, New Hyde Park, NY, USA
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Linda Carmine
  • Division of Adolescent Medicine, Cohen Children’s Medical Center, Northwell Health System, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine, New Hyde Park, NY, USA
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2017-08-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0070



Concussions, a form of mild traumatic brain injury, are a current “hot topic” in sports and medicine, with current research focusing on diagnosis, treatment, and the long-term effects of repeated concussions on development of chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Concussions represent 8.9% of all high school athletic injuries, and pediatricians see many of these patients in their practices, however evolving guidelines and recommendations have resulted in varying practices among providers.


To assess how local pediatricians in New York Chapter 2 of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) diagnose and treat concussion patients, and to evaluate the need for continuing education in this area.

Design and methods

Survey Monkey™ was used to query providers regarding their diagnosis and treatment of concussion patients. A total of three emails containing a link to the 22 question multiple-choice survey were sent to AAP Chapter 2 members between January 2015 and June 2015. The survey was adapted and modified with permission from one previously used by “Zonfrillo MR, Master CL, Grady MF, Winston FK, Callahan JM, Arbogast KB. Pediatric providers’ self-reported knowledge, practices, and attitudes about concussion. Pediatrics. 2012;130:1120–5”.


We received 115 responses from 1436 potential participants to whom the survey link was sent, resulting in an 8% response rate. We excluded subspecialists from our data analysis, resulting in data from 95 primary care pediatricians. Of the PCPs 98.7% reported seeing at least one child or adolescent with a concussion in the previous 12 months and 76.6% reported referring some or all of their concussion patients for ongoing management. The most common reason for referral was “I am not always comfortable with management” and the most common subspecialist referral was to a neurologist. Most providers reported that they did not use any guidelines for management (58.3%) and only 57.4% were familiar with the New York State Education Department concussion guidelines. Almost half reported inadequate training in performing neurocognitive assessments (48.6%). Most were comfortable educating families about the diagnosis of concussion (81.7%), as well as recommending the appropriate time to resume school (70.4%) and prescribing and monitoring a return to play protocol (62%). A total of 84.3% also responded, however, that they would be interested in a webinar for a continuing medical education(CME) credit focused on concussion diagnosis and management.


Most pediatric providers care for patients who have suffered a concussion, however many identify barriers to diagnosis and treatment, which results in patients being referred to subspecialists for further management. Many providers are also unfamiliar with, or do not use, published concussion guidelines and report varying practices in treatment of concussion patients due to evolving recommendations. This study demonstrates that there is a need for further education for pediatric providers who see patients with concussion.

Keywords: concussion; concussion guidelines; concussion practices; primary care pediatrics

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About the article

Received: 2017-04-28

Accepted: 2017-06-11

Published Online: 2017-08-25

Citation Information: International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health, 20170070, ISSN (Online) 2191-0278, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijamh-2017-0070.

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