Deficiencies in concussion education in Canadian medical schools

Can J Neurol Sci. 2012 Nov;39(6):763-6. doi: 10.1017/s0317167100015584.


Background: Recent reports raise concern that physician knowledge of the identification and management of concussion may be deficient. There is little information known about the adequacy of concussion education provided to physicians or medical students. The present study assesses the concussion curriculum offered at medical schools in Canada.

Methods: We asked all 17 Canadian medical schools to complete a questionnaire on their concussion curriculum, including the following: year of medical school offered; format/setting; and estimated teaching hours. The responses were organized into three categories: (1) concussion-specific education; (2) head injury education incorporating a concussion component; and (3) no concussion education.

Results: Replies were received from 14 (82%) of the 17 medical schools in Canada. Of the 14 responding schools, four (29%) provided concussion-specific education, six (43%) offered head injury education that incorporated a concussion component, and four (29%) reported no concussion teaching in their curriculum.

Conclusion: We found deficiencies in the concussion education curriculum provided in the majority of Canadian medical schools. To address this issue, we recommend that all medical schools should, at a minimum, include a one-hour formal concussion-specific teaching session in an early year of their curriculum to be followed by clinical exposure to concussed patients in the later years of medical school. Future studies will be necessary to evaluate if these recommended curricular enhancements are effective in remedying the reported gaps in physicians' concussion knowledge and whether the improved curriculum translates into better care for patients suffering concussion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Concussion* / diagnosis
  • Brain Concussion* / therapy
  • Canada
  • Curriculum*
  • Education, Medical*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Schools, Medical*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires