Parent-Child communication about concussion: what role can the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's HEADS UP concussion in youth sports handouts play?

Brain Inj. 2022 Jul 29;36(9):1133-1139. doi: 10.1080/02699052.2022.2109740. Epub 2022 Aug 18.


Background: Concussion education for parents/guardians (hereafter referred to as parents) has the potential to play an important role in youth athlete concussion safety. The goal of this study was to evaluate the impact of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) HEADS UP handout on parent-child communication about concussion.

Methods: YMCA branches from 15 associations from across the United States were randomized to CDC HEADS UP intervention condition or education as usual control condition using a cluster randomization strategy. In the intervention condition, coaches shared parent- and athlete-specific handouts with parents and asked parents to share and discuss the athlete-specific handouts with their child. Generalized estimating equations, with repeated measures to account for the correlation among matched participants and YMCA associations, were employed.

Results: Multivariable analyses exploring the relationship between time (pre- and post-intervention) and communication showed that the percent of parents who talked to their child about concussion increased in the intervention group (aRR=1.33, 95% CI=1.22, 1.44), but not in the control group.

Conclusion: CDC HEADS UP handouts help families talk about concussion safety. Sports organizations seeking to educate parents of athletes about concussion should consider using CDC HEADS UP handouts and following a similar dissemination strategy.

Keywords: Concussion; athlete; communication; education; parent; reporting.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletes
  • Athletic Injuries* / prevention & control
  • Brain Concussion* / prevention & control
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.
  • Communication
  • Humans
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parents
  • United States
  • Youth Sports*