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A qualitative review of sports concussion education: prime time for evidence-based knowledge translation

Abstract

Background Educating athletes, coaches, parents and healthcare providers about concussion management is a public health priority. There is an abundance of information on sports concussions supported by position statements from governing sport and medical organisations. Yet surveys of athletes, parents, coaches and healthcare providers continue to identify multiple barriers to the successful management of sports concussion. To date, efforts to provide education using empirically sound methodologies are lacking.

Purpose To provide a comprehensive review of scientific research on concussion education efforts and make recommendations for enhancing these efforts.

Study design Qualitative literature review of sports concussion education.

Methods Databases including PubMed, Sport Discus and MEDLINE were searched using standardised terms, alone and in combination, including ‘concussion’, ‘sport’, ‘knowledge’, ‘education’ and ‘outcome’.

Results Studies measuring the success of education interventions suggest that simply presenting available information may help to increase knowledge about concussions, but it does not produce long-term changes in behaviour among athletes. Currently, no empirical reviews have evaluated the success of commercially available sports concussion applications. The most successful education efforts have taken steps to ensure materials are user-friendly, interactive, utilise more than one modality to present information and are embedded in mandated training programmes or support legislation. Psychosocial theory-driven methods used to understand and improve ‘buy in’ from intended audiences have shown promise in changing behaviour.

Conclusions More deliberate and methodologically sound steps must be taken to optimise education and knowledge translation efforts in sports concussion.

  • Concussion
  • Education
  • Knowledge translation
  • Brain

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