Canadian Football League Players' Reporting of Concussion Symptoms

  • Daryl William Harrison Stephenson Western University
  • Elizabeth Anne Kinsella McGill University
  • Jeffery David Holmes Western University
  • Andrew Malcolm Johnson Western University
Keywords: concussion, football, reporting, underreporting, grounded theory methodology, interviews


Self-reporting of concussion is essential to appropriate intervention, and failure to report concussion-like symptoms is a significant issue. In the current study we sought to investigate factors that contribute to the process of self-reporting concussion symptoms within the context of the Canadian Football League. A constructivist grounded theory methodology was adopted, employing in-depth, semi-structured interviews with ten Canadian League Football (CFL) players. We found significant complexity within the decision-making process for CFL players, when assessing whether or not to report a concussion. In the preliminary grounded theory emerging from the study, we identified two stages involving 1. pre-game preparation, and 2. assessing the impact. In addition, we determined three related processes (themes): 1. intrapersonal symptom checklists, 2. perceived pressures to play, and 3. certainty of symptoms.


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Author Biographies

Daryl William Harrison Stephenson, Western University

Daryl William Harrison STEPHENSON is an adjunct professor at Western University. He holds a PhD in health and rehabilitation sciences from Western University and a master's degree in human kinetics from the University of Windsor. He currently works for the Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers in Hamilton Ontario Canada.

Elizabeth Anne Kinsella, McGill University

Elizabeth Anne KINSELLA is a professor in the Institute of Health Sciences Education, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, at McGill University. She is interested in health professions education, knowledge mobilization in health and social care, human occupations, ethics, praxis, and qualitative research.

Jeffery David Holmes, Western University

Jeffrey David HOLMES is an associate professor at Western University. His research interests are in concussion education, management and psychosocial implications on occupational identity, non-pharmacological management of gait and balance impairments among individuals with Parkinson's disease, evaluation of novel treatments, diagnostic procedures, and teaching practices in occupational therapy.

Andrew Malcolm Johnson, Western University

Andrew Malcolm JOHNSON is currently the acting director for the School of Health Studies at Western University. His primary research interests relate to the identification of patient values within an evidence-based practice framework, methods for identifying concussions, and the tracking of concussion symptoms.

How to Cite
Stephenson, D. W. H., Kinsella, E. A., Holmes, J. D., & Johnson, A. M. (2021). Canadian Football League Players’ Reporting of Concussion Symptoms. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 22(2).