A Systematic Review of the Effectiveness of Concussion Education Programs for Coaches and Parents of Youth Athletes

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Apr 13;17(8):2665. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17082665.


Coach and parent concussion education programs are essential for the prevention, diagnosis, management, and return to play of youth athletes. This systematic review examined the content and efficacy (changes in knowledge, impact on concussion incidence) of concussion education programs for coaches and parents of youth and high school athletes. Six databases were searched: SPORTDiscus, Academic Search Premiere, CINAHL, PsycINFO, PubMed, and Google Scholar. Studies evaluated the use and/or efficacy of concussion education programs among coaches or parents of youth athletes. A total of 13 articles (out of 1553 articles) met selection criteria. Although different concussion education programs exist, only three have been evaluated in the literature: ACTive Athletic Concussion Training™, USA Football's Heads Up Football, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's HEADS UP. These programs are well liked among coaches and parents and the suggested practices are easily implemented by coaches. These programs increased concussion knowledge among coaches and parents and promoted behavioral changes among coaches to reduce the concussion risk in high school sports. Few studies have assessed the efficacy of concussion education programs on youth athlete health outcomes. No studies included a longitudinal follow up to determine the degree of knowledge retention following the intervention. While online educational programs are sufficient to improve coach knowledge, in-person training may be a more effective educational tool for reducing the incidence of youth sport concussion. Future studies addressing the efficacy of concussion education programs should include a longitudinal follow up to assess knowledge retention and fidelity.

Keywords: adolescent; children; injury prevention; knowledge transfer; knowledge translation; program evaluation.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Athletes
  • Athletic Injuries* / epidemiology
  • Athletic Injuries* / prevention & control
  • Brain Concussion* / epidemiology
  • Brain Concussion* / prevention & control
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Parents