High school principals' resources, knowledge, and practices regarding the returning student with concussion

J Pediatr. 2015 Mar;166(3):594-9.e7. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2014.09.038. Epub 2014 Oct 25.


Objective: To determine high school principals' self-reported resources, knowledge, and practices regarding the management of students returning to school following concussion.

Study design: A cross-sectional survey of public high school principals in the state of Ohio assessed respondent and school demographics, respondent concussion training, school resources, and monitoring and accommodation practices for students with concussion.

Results: Of the 695 eligible high school principals, 465 (66.9%) completed the survey. Over one-third of principals (37.2%) had some form of concussion training in the past year. Those with training were more likely to promote training of other school faculty (57.4% vs 30.6%, P < .001). Principals were asked to identify school personnel who are designated as case managers for students with concussion. Schools without a designated case manager were less likely to have an athletic trainer (P < .001) and had fewer students (median 424.5 vs 599) than schools with a case manager. Principals could list at least 1 faculty designee who communicates with health professionals more often for student-athletes than for nonathletes (P < .001). Most principals were willing to provide students with short-term academic accommodations, but 30.1% required a health professional's note prior to making any academic changes. Only 32% of principals reported providing families with a written academic plan following concussion.

Conclusions: Schools differ in their resources and management strategies for students returning to school after concussion. Understanding these differences can help health professionals to overcome potential barriers in managing their school-aged patients with concussion.

MeSH terms

  • Brain Concussion / epidemiology
  • Brain Concussion / rehabilitation*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Measurement
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Ohio / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Schools*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires