Vested Interests and Perceived Risk of Concussion Consequences among Power-5 College Athletes

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8 Scopus citations


Concussion injuries among young athletes are a growing public health concern; concussion injuries pose threats to both short-term and long-term brain health. Significant, multidisciplinary efforts are underway to improve detection, diagnosis and treatment. Concussion symptoms are ambiguous and not outwardly visible; successful detection and diagnosis efforts depend on veridical athlete communication with health practitioners. To date, education programs to enhance reporting behaviors have not been successful. This research reports findings from the first phase of a project designed to understand athlete’s perceived risk of concussion consequences with the goal of informing theory-based motivational and educational interventions. Using a novel theoretical approach, this research examines the vested interests of 435 collegiate athletes from 12 universities, participating in six Division I level, high concussion-risk sports, sanctioned by a Power-5 conference. Our findings confirm that the vestedness model predicts a consequential amount of variance in perceived concussion risk, perceived levels of concussion education, and recalled head impacts. The model identifies several opportunities to craft theory-based messages that can motivate reporting behaviors. This research contributes to the literature on concussion safety by offering a unique theoretical framework that accounts for factors influencing risk perception and takes a step in a call for deliberate, theory-based optimization and translation of concussion education for high-risk athletes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1673-1682
Number of pages10
JournalHealth Communication
Issue number13
StatePublished - Nov 10 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Communication


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