What is it about?

We did a large survey of Air Force Academy cadets. Future pilots at the Air Force Academy reported themselves as less willing to report their concussions than other cadets, including athletes. The longer they were at the Academy, the less willing they became. Just the way athletes fear that a concussion will take them out of the game, future pilots fear that a concussion will derail their flying career.

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Why is it important?

There are two important takeaways from our study. One is that people besides athletes get concussions and we need to look at this issue more broadly. Two is that people make the decisions that will help them achieve their goals for the most part, so if there is misinformation about the likely outcomes from a decision like reporting a concussion we need to replace that with better more accurate information.


With concussion, so much of the outreach work used to be ‘fascinating facts about the brain,’ but that's not really what people need. The brain facts they need regarding concussion are: a concussion is a brain energy deficit injury and to recover your brain needs time to recharge. They should know that reporting their concussion gives their brain time to recover and build up its reserves of energy Which will help them recover more quickly and could reduce their likelihood to have other injuries, including future concussions.

Christopher D'Lauro
United States Air Force Academy

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Pilots and athletes: Different concerns, similar concussion non-disclosure, PLoS ONE, May 2019, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0215030.
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