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Do as I Say: Contradicting Beliefs and Attitudes Towards Sports Concussion in Australia

The objective of this study was to explore beliefs and attitudes of students studying exercise science in Australia towards sports concussion. A secondary objective explored differences between gender and previous experience of concussion. A total of 312 participants (m = 217; f = 95) responded to a series of statements ranging across a number of areas including personal attitudes and beliefs towards concussion: if they would risk playing with a concussion; their views on elite/professional athletes who continue to play after a concussion; and attitudes towards rehabilitation. Overall, attitudes revealed that it was not safe to play with a concussion, and it was believed that those who have had repeated concussions would be likely to suffer problems later in life. However, responses also indicated that they would risk playing with a concussion, and admired elite athletes who continued to play. When controlling for gender and previous concussions, males and those who sustained a previous concussion/s were more likely to continue playing. Conversely, females were more likely to complete rehabilitation prior to returning to sport. This study demonstrates in an Australian student cohort studying for a career in exercise and sports science, disparity between beliefs and attitudes regarding sports concussion.