Objective: To assess the knowledge of, attitudes toward, and learning needs for concussion diagnosis and management among family medicine residents.

Design: E-mail survey.

Setting: University of Toronto in Ontario.

Participants: Family medicine residents (N = 348).

Main outcome measures: To describe relationships between awareness of concussion management and lifestyle, education background, and residency placement, t tests and 2 tests were used as appropriate. Linear regression was used to compare self-reported concussion knowledge with knowledge scores. Thematic analysis was used to interpret answers to the qualitative question asking residents to describe challenges they foresee physicians facing when diagnosing and managing concussion.

Results: The residents who responded (n = 73, response rate 21%) correctly answered an average of 5.2 questions out of 9 (58%) regarding the diagnosis and management of concussion. Postgraduate year, sex, personal history of concussion, and clinical exposure to concussion were not significant factors in predicting the number of correct answers. Several misconceptions and knowledge gaps were revealed. Of residents who responded, 71% did not recognize chronic traumatic encephalopathy and only 63% recognized second-impact syndrome as consequences of repetitive concussions. Moreover, 32% of residents did not think that every individual with a concussion should see a physician as part of management. Knowledge scores did not predict self-reported concussion knowledge. Thematic analysis revealed 4 themes related to the challenges of concussion diagnosis and management: the nonspecificity and vagueness of symptoms, lack of formal diagnostic criteria, patient compliance with management, and counseling patients with respect to return to play, work, or learning.

Conclusion: We found substantial gaps in knowledge surrounding concussion diagnosis and management among family medicine residents. This lack of knowledge should be addressed at both the undergraduate medical education level and the residency training level to improve concussion-related care and patient outcomes.

Mann A, Tator CH, Carson JD. Concussion diagnosis and management: Knowledge and attitudes of family medicine residents. Can Fam Physician. 2017 Jun;63(6):460-466. PMID: 28615399; PMCID: PMC5471087.