Parent Beliefs about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy: Implications for Ethical Communication by Healthcare Providers Emily Kroshus, Sara P.D. Chrisman, Frederick P. Rivara

The objective of this study was to assess the beliefs of parents of youth soccer players about Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), concussion, and retirement from sport decisions and compare them to those of concussion-specialized clinicians. An electronic survey was completed by parents of youth club soccer players (n=247/1600, 15.4% response rate) and concussion-specialized clinicians (n=18/47, 38.3% response rate) located in a large U.S. urban center. Parents believed more strongly in the causal relationship between concussions and CTE, and between CTE and harm than did clinicians. Parents who themselves had participated in sport at a high level had more conservative beliefs than other parents about the number of concussions after which an athlete should retire from contact or collision sport. Results are discussed in the context of ethical risk communication between clinicians and parents. This includes the importance of communicating information about CTE to parents and youth athletes in an understandable way so that they can make informed choices about contact and collision sport participation. Further research is encouraged to evaluate approaches of communicating evidence about CTE to a diverse population of families of youth athletes.