Head Injuries and Concussions Common in Theater Work and Performing Arts

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Jeffrey A. (Jeff) Russell, PhD, AT, FIADMS Science and Health in Artistic Performance Division of Athletic Training, School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness Ohio University Athens, OH 45701

Dr. Jeff Russell

Jeffrey A. (Jeff) Russell, PhD, AT, FIADMS
Science and Health in Artistic Performance
Division of Athletic Training, School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness
Ohio University
Athens, OH 45701

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

 

 

Response: Everyone knows that enormous attention is given to concussions in sports today. Those involved in performing arts experience many head impacts, too; yet, they receive neither the attention nor the specialized care for concussions that athletes do.

At Ohio University’s Clinic for Science and Health in Artistic Performance (SHAPe Clinic) that I direct, we were seeing a number of theater students suffer concussions. So, Brooke Daniell and I decided explore this trend more closely. This is the first known published research to evaluate the prevalence of head impacts in theater personnel. In the sample we studied, which comprised predominantly those involved in various aspects of theater production, the prevalence of receiving at least one head impact in a theater career was 67%. Of those who sustained at least one head impact from theater, 77% reported three or more head impacts, and 39% reported more than five impacts. More troubling, of those who said they had received a head impact that was accompanied by concussion-like symptoms, 70% indicated that they continued their work, and half of those did not report the incident to anyone.

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