A mixed-method investigation of a concussion education intervention for high school athletes


Although experts have noted that adolescent athletes should be educated about concussions to improve their safety (Broglio et al., 2014), there is no agreement on the most effective strategy to disseminate concussion education (Caron, Bloom, Falcão, & Sweet, 2015). The purpose of our study was to create, deliver, and assess a concussion education intervention for high school athletes (N = 35, Mage = 15.94; SD = 0.34). The intervention consisted of four in-person presentations that were designed to improve participants' concussion knowledge (CK) and attitudes (CA). Quantitative data were gathered using the Rosenbaum Concussion Knowledge and Attitudes Survey at pre, post, and 2 months post-intervention to measure changes in CK and CA. Qualitative data were collected using focus group interviews approximately two weeks following the concussion education intervention. Significant pre-post differences in participants' CK scores were found (t = -2.000, p = .000, d = -.884), as well as from pre to 2 months post-intervention (t = -1.971, p = .000, d = -.831). Thematic analysis of the focus group data revealed the participants acquired CK about the role of protective equipment and symptom variability, and specific to CA, they intended to avoid dangerous in-game collisions. Our study was the first to create and deliver a concussion education intervention across multiple time-points, and to use mixed-methods in its assessment. Our results contribute to a limited body of research on concussion education interventions and highlight a need to continue exploring strategies to enhance athletes' health and well-being in the sport setting.

Acknowledgments: The authors would like to acknowledge the Bloomberg-Manulife doctoral fellowship for supporting this research