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Stunning number of performing arts professionals found to have concussion-related symptoms


You expect a sportsman or an athlete to experience his fair share of concussions. But performing arts professionals are also prone to a stunning number of head impacts and concussion-related symptoms. However, theater personnel tend to keep working despite suffering a concussion – and they don’t report it or get the right medical care, either, according to a Mexical Xpress article.

Co-authors Jeff Russell and Brooke Daniell from Ohio University found that 67 percent of theater personnel took at least one head injury while working on the stage. To their surprise, 77 percent of their respondents reported having suffered at least three such accidents during their time in theater, while a whopping 39 percent took at least five hard knocks to the head.

Among the participants who said they experienced head injuries, 70 percent believed they also felt symptoms associated with a concussion. However, they all finished the job despite those symptoms. (Related: U.S. Food and Drug Administration issues approval for first blood test for concussions… but is it accurate?)

Performing arts is a “hidden industry” of concussions

Russell hazards a number of reasons why the respondents didn’t report their concussions. He believes theater personnel are unaware of how bad their injury can be. They are also not used to getting the kind of close medical attention devoted to injured athletes.

In addition, some performing arts professionals want to get paid, so they force themselves to keep working in their concussed states. Others, like stunt performers, think skipping work on account of a concussion makes them look soft to their coworkers.

According to Russell, performing arts is a “hidden industry behind the scenes” on the matter of concussions, especially when placed beside mainstream sports. People do not put performing artists on the same physical level as sport athletes.

“They’re doing their work where they’re building things, moving equipment and often working backstage where it’s dark. There are a variety of ‘booby traps’ in the arts world where an injury is likely to occur,” he pointed out.

He also brings up the guide that covers health and safety in theater. It’s 251 pages long, but devotes less than a page to the subject of head protection that reduces concussions. Given the results of the study, Russell says he finds it “very scary” that so many concussed individuals kept working without treatment.

All of the respondents were 19 years or older. Most of them came from the production side of theater.

Performing arts professionals need proper protection against concussions

Russell believes it’s high time for performing arts to change its tune regarding work-related concussions. For starters, he recommends that theater production personnel must be required to wear protective headgear. If head injuries are sustained during the course of a production, they must be treated with the same care and practices that a medical team would apply to an injured sports athlete.

Directors and other supervisory personnel must also become aware of the high risk of concussion in their work environment. They will need to emphasize safety and proper management for all personnel on the stage. In particular, they must make everyone understand that head injuries are serious problems that need to be taken care of as soon as possible.

“Severe consequences can occur when concussions are not managed correctly. The brain is more important than a production or a performance,” he concludes.

You can find more articles on interesting health-related studies at Health.news.

Sources include:

MedicalXpress.com

Ohio.edu

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