Development of a concussion public policy on prevention, management and education for schools using expert consensus

Inj Prev. 2022 May 4;injuryprev-2021-044395. doi: 10.1136/injuryprev-2021-044395. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Objectives: Concussions are a major public health concern, and, thus, specific policies have been developed for implementation targeting vulnerable populations such as school-aged children and youth in the school setting, in whom the majority of concussions are sports related. Currently, concussion policies exist in various jurisdictions, including Canada's first concussion policy for schools, Ontario's PPM158, initiated in 2014. However, these policies are often variable in terms of content and comprehensiveness. Our objective was to develop a consensus for the content of concussion policy for schools.

Methods: Following a pilot study in one Ontario school board in 2015, which identified missing elements in existing concussion policy, we employed a modified Delphi method to develop consensus for the content of concussion public policy for schools. We used an integrated knowledge translation approach with participation from a multidisciplinary stakeholder group of 20 experts including principals, school board directors, physicians, policymakers, public health representatives and parents.

Results: Based on the experts, we created a list of 30 policy recommendations for concussion policy in the school setting. This comprehensive list reflects the diverse perspectives of the experts and addresses the role of parents, teachers, coaches, school administrators, referees, trainers, physicians/nurse practitioners, public health and students.

Conclusions: This is the first expert consensus for content of concussion public policy for schools and can be used for policy development or enhancement in schools in other jurisdictions. We provide a comprehensive list of 30 recommendations to guide best practices for policy development and implementation to enhance school-based concussion prevention and management.

Keywords: Concussion; Education; Legislation; Policy; Public Health; Regulation.