Concussion Management Among National Collegiate Athletic Association Swim Programs

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International Journal of Athletic Therapy and Training


The nuances of swimming make the application of traditional return-to-play progressions following concussion challenging. Our purpose was to describe athletic training services and concussion management protocols among National Collegiate Athletic Association swim programs and compare them between the National Collegiate Athletic Association divisions. We surveyed 228 athletic trainers assigned to or with knowledge of their institution’s swim programs from a convenience sample of 539 (response rate = 42.3%) athletic trainers. Athletic training services were provided to 98.6% (214/217) of the programs. Nearly 80% (164/207) of the programs administered baseline concussion testing to swimmers, with differences observed between divisions (p <.001). No differences (p =.108) in the number of concussions sustained by swimmers in the past academic year were noted between divisions. Specific return-to-swim protocols were reported by 51.8% (115/222) of respondents with no differences in the presence of a specific return-to-swim protocol between divisions (p =.790). While concussions are reported less frequently in swimming than other sports, appropriate medical care, including a specific return-to-swim protocol, is warranted and provided for future use.

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