Concussion study reveals CFL players hide symptoms from team

Scott Delaney of the McGill University Health Centre and team doctor for the MLS Montreal Impact and assistant team doctor for the CFL Montreal Alouettes resounds to a question during an interview Monday, January 8, 2018 in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/CP)

A study of concussions among Canadian Football League players has found that many hide their symptoms from team doctors.

Some players worry they’ll be taken out of a game or be seen as letting their team down if they admit to having a concussion.

Scott Delaney led a study by a team from the McGill University Health Centre into athletes’ attitudes toward concussions.

Their paper “Why Professional Football Players Chose Not to Reveal Their Concussion Symptoms during a Practice or Game” was published this month in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine.

Delaney says the same results were found in a study two years ago on student athletes.

He says maybe the injury needs new terminology to drive home the point that a concussion is a severe injury to the brain.

Delaney says if the word “concussion” was replaced by “brain injury” perhaps more athletes would admit that they’ve had one.

His team hopes to find ways to get athletes to seek treatment when they experience concussion symptoms like headaches, nausea or blurred vision.

Delaney says the issue of hiding concussions is not a professional football issue, it’s a sport issue, and you can’t make it better unless you understand why players are doing it.

The McGill research team surveyed 454 C-F-L players with support from the league and the players’ association.

They found that 23.4 per cent felt they had suffered a concussion during the 2015 season and that 82.1 per cent of that group did not seek treatment for a suspected concussion at least once during the season.

Only six per cent who said they would see a doctor after a game did so, and only about 20 per cent always reported concussions to the team medical staff.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.