Concussion Education in U.S. Collegiate Sport: What Is Happening and What Do Athletes Want?

Health Educ Behav. 2016 Apr;43(2):182-90. doi: 10.1177/1090198115599380. Epub 2015 Aug 20.


Concussion education for athletes has the potential to play a role in reducing the health burden of concussions from sport by modifying individual risk-related behaviors. In U.S. collegiate sport, decisions about content and delivery of concussion education are left up to the individual institution. This may result in a high degree of variability in what educational materials athletes receive and is particularly problematic as few concussion education programs have demonstrated efficacy. Health educators can play an important role in working collaboratively with sports medicine clinicians to design and evaluate evidence-based concussion education materials for athletes that meet their learning needs. As a first step in this process, the present study characterizes the content, source, and delivery modalities of concussion currently being provided to U.S. collegiate athletes. It also describes the reported concussion education preferences of a sample of U.S. collegiate athletes. Participants were 789 athletic trainers from 276 schools and 325 athletes from four schools. Results indicated that education is most frequently provided by athletic trainers but that many athletes would also like coaches and physicians to be involved in this process. Athletes also indicated a preference for content provision across a range of topics, including athletic and academic consequences of continued play with a concussion. Implications for the design and delivery of concussion education for athletes are discussed.

Keywords: college health; dissemination and implementation; health communications; injury prevention/safety; school-based.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Athletes / education*
  • Athletes / psychology
  • Athletic Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Brain Concussion / prevention & control*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Education* / methods
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination / methods
  • Risk-Taking
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States
  • Universities