The CFL players hide their concussions, according to a study

Photo: Chris Young The canadian Press
Dominique Tovell has sustained a concussion last summer when he played for the Montreal Alouettes.

If the words “concussion” were replaced by ” brain injury “, maybe more athletes would admit having experienced a.


This is one of the suggestions put forward by Dr. Scott Delaney, who led a study carried out by the health Centre of McGill University on the attitude of the athletes towards concussions.


The results of his study were published this month in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine.


The team of Delaney hopes to find ways for the athletes to seek treatment when they experience symptoms of concussion such as headaches, nausea or blurred vision.


With several cases of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (cte) among the ex-athletes suffering the long-term effects of concussions that have made headlines in recent years, one might expect that athletes would be more inclined to ask for help.


The McGill researchers have found that while most of these athletes know about concussions, how they can cause damage to the brain and how they are processed, many do not care about them, or ensure that no one is aware that they’re suffering from.


“Maybe we should talk about that injury to the brain, what they are, said Delaney. It may be that the message would be better. “


“Concussions are so ubiquitous, it may be that a strategy as simple as changing their designation could further highlight the severity of this injury. It could change the culture if someone said : “She injured her brain. This is serious”. “


The research team interviewed 454 CFL players with the support of the league and the players Association of the CFL. Players have anonymously completed questionnaires before the season 2016.


It has been found that 23.4 per cent of them believed to have suffered a concussion during the season 2015, and that 82.1% of this group has not sought to obtain treatment. Only 6 % of those who said they would see a doctor after the match have done so, while only 20 % say that they report systematically a concussion to the medical staff of the team.


The report concludes that ” players seem to know about the process of assessment of concussion and the prescribed treatments, but that this knowledge does not necessarily translate into healthy behaviours and appropriate when they are wounded “.


“To present them with the facts is well, but this is not enough,” added Delaney, who is the chief physician of the Montreal Impact, in addition to be a physician assistant with the Montreal Alouettes, as well as physician-in-chief of the teams of football and soccer, men’s and women’s McGill University.


“We need to change the culture around concussions and ensure that people better understand the risks. It is also important that the players feel comfortable to ask for help. “


Most of the players have stressed that they did not believe their injury was serious enough to leave the meeting. The fear of being led off the field, missed games subsequent or be labeled as a player “fragile” are also part of the reasons mentioned.


By contrast, the money does not seem to influence their decision : the reluctance of players to the CFL to admit that they are suffering from concussion of the brain is slightly higher than that shown by the college athletes from McGill and Concordia, with which it has carried out a similar survey two years ago.


Dr. Delaney points out that athletes from McGill University and coaches have signed a ” covenant on concussions “, in which both parties acknowledge to be informed about the effects of concussions and commits to the report.


“I want the players as the coaches who see someone who is not well come tell it to me, he explained. Sometimes, you can’t trust the athlete, but we can rely on those around him. They all understand that they can be removed from a game, then they don’t get angry every time. We are agreed on this point. “