Educating Coaches About Concussion in Sports: Evaluation of the CDC’s”Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports” Initiative Written By Tyrell Thomas TarboroVanguard UniverityApril 07, 2017Article: Educating Coaches About Concussion in Sports: Evaluation of theCDC’s ”Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports” Initiative by Tracey Covassin, PhD, ATC; R. J. Elbin, PhD; Kelly Sarmiento, MPHPublication: The Journal of School Health 2012 May; Vol. 82(5), pp. 233-8OverviewEducating Coaches About Concussion in Sports: Evaluation of the CDC’s”Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports” simply evaluates the effectivenessof the Heads Up Initiative and the difference in youth coaches educationand readiness such as preventing, recognizing, and responding toconcussions.Order now
Also, the article states, “it is important that individualsinvolved in youth sports, coaches in particular, be aware of the signs andsymptoms of concussion and know how to respond if a concussion issuspected. ” According to Valovich-McLeod, “only 61% of youth coaches couldcorrectly identify the symptoms of a concussion pre-and-post mortem” (P. 234). The creator of the Heads Up program created a questionnaire composedby a panel of specialist that range from physicians to youth coaches togauge the knowledge of the youth coaches on concussions. The objective ofthis research was to see if the tools from the Heads Up education programprovided youth coaches with a better understanding on how to prevent,recognize, and respond to concussion. Their research found that coaches whopossessed the Heads Up information six months prior to the questionnaire,felt that this information was helpful to them in their coaching andeducation of concussions.
Even though this survey was limited to a smallsample size and the knowledge of the youth coach’s previous knowledge onconcussions prior to the survey was unknown, the consensus on the CDC’sassessment of the Heads Up program is that this material taught coacheseither something new about concussions or provided them with theinformation to teach the kids, coaches, and parents about concussions. Thisarticle concluded that all school officials involved in athletics andcoaches should implement a pre-season, mid-season, and post-seasonchecklist to include training on concussions to maintain the education andknowledge to prevent the mishandling of this serious injury. Research ProblemConcussions are defined as temporary unconsciousness or confusion due to aninjury to the head. Concussions have become an increasing problem forathletes playing sports, primarily in youth because the symptoms are notalways present immediately as with adults causing long term effects of thebrain to go unnoticed and untreated.
With concussions increasing every yearand becoming more publicized, the attention has been placed on educatingcoaches, players and parents on how to prevent, recognize, and respond toconcussion in a timely manner to prevent long term diseases form developingin the brain. The articles hypothesis states, “it is important thatindividuals involved in youth sports, coaches in particular, be aware ofthe signs and symptoms of concussion and know how to respond if aconcussion is suspected. ” The objective of this research was to see howeducated youth coaches were on concussions after receiving the Heads Upmaterial and if they were teaching they were properly preventing,recognizing and responding to concussions in their athletes. Research Design and ProceduresA 22-question survey was sent out to a small sample size of 1,000 coachesto gauge their knowledge and understanding of concussions and theeffectiveness of the Heads up educational material. The survey was sent outto coaches who had been given the Heads Up material 6 months prior to thesurvey. The survey questions varied from demographic to their awareness ofthe Head Up material they received and what they knew of the program, andalso what was their general knowledge of concussions.
The coaches wereasked their opinion on how serious they thought concussions were and whatmaterials from the Heads Up program they thought were most helpful wheneducating other about concussions. The survey did not specify if thequestions were open-ended or closed-ended, nor did the article specify howthe survey was administered. Findings and Data AnalysisOf the 336 coaches who completed the survey, 77% of the coaches stated thatthey could better identify the signs of a concussion. , with 50% statingthat they found out something new about concussions. All of the coachesagreed that having the Heads Up educational material help them to be ableto prevent, recognize, and respond to a concussion.
Also the coaches statedthat they were going to pass the material along and educate other coachesand parents on the seriousness of concussions. I do not find that the data 100% supports the hypothesis because theresearch was done to see the significance of the Heads Up material and howmuch it helped the coaches, however, it was never stated the experience ofthe coaches nor was there a controlled group of coaches that wereinterviewed. With the experience level not being a requirement to answerthe survey, how truthful are the facts that 50% of the coaches stated thatlearned something new. It favors the finding to assure that theinformation. The article broke down the sports in which the coaches whotook the survey were a part of, and not all of the sports have the sameconcussion rate. If a person is coaching youth golf, it is most likely notgoing to have the same concussion rates as football or soccer, so ofcourse a coach’s answers are going to skew the results because his or herexperience may not be the same.
This goes in line with the result of 23. 2%(78/336) of the coaches not believing concussions are serious injuries,because that injury may not be a factor in the sport they coach. Flaws in Procedural DesignThis survey was issued out without knowing the extent of what these youthcoaches knew about concussions. The coaches were only limited to thequestions on the survey, leaving no room for them to inform the interviewerof the survey what they really knew. Meaning, a coach’s knowledge ofconcussions could have been really high and the results of this surveywould have been a little bias because he assumption of the survey was thatthe material provided by Heads Up gave the coaches more than what theyknew.
The survey was sent out to 1,000 coaches but there was only aresponse of 340 coaches, which is a 34% response rate. This small samplesize can have bias results because the overall findings were that over 50%of the coaches reported learning something new, but the average yearscoached from all of the coaches was 7. 8 years. Numbers like these can biasif you have 160 coaches who have coached for 2 years but the remainingcoaches have coached for 20+ years your numbers are going to be off. Considering the different styles in coaching and how they change over theyears, an older coach’s stance on players with concussion may differ from acoach who is brought up in the age of advanced medicine and concussions.
This can affect numbers like: percentages of coaches who learned somethingnew, if a coach feels it’s his duty to educate parents on concussion,whether a coach will put a plyer back in after receiving a concussion, orif concussions are a serious problem. I have played for older coaches andnewer coaches and there is a significant difference in how they approach aconcussion. Some of my older coached have told me that if I wasn’tunconscious then I didn’t have a concussion, and with the coaches of thenewer generation that I have played for they have advanced techniques fordetermining if a player has a concussion. Even though the article stated that the demographic was taken intoaccount when administering this survey, only 340 coaches replied. There isreally no way to know how many youth sports programs there are in the U.
S. ,and for a sample size this small 340 coaches can’t speak for the masses. The survey wasn’t broken down to be sport specific, gender specific, orsurrounding environment specific, which all of these attributes can affecthow a coach may answer these questions. The future studies recommended tofocus study on the policies laws being passed and the awareness of coacheson concussions, and doing this with controlled focus groups. I think forthis to be extremely successful and accurate a survey from every sport,every gender, and every state should be done, and even though a projectlike this can take a long time and be costly the overall result of thesurvey would be more accurate.
Research Conclusions and RecommendationsThe author’s state that with the help of the Heads Up educational material77% of the youth coaches said that they were able to identify concussionswith more ese after possessing the material. 50% of the coaches said thatthey learned something new, concluding that the Heads Up program was asuccess on a small scale. The CDC believes that making this materialaccessible to more youth coaches it will help with the implementation offuture concussion laws and policies. Any school or parental officialworking with youth athletic associations should prepare for concussionbefore athletes take the field. A pre, mid, and post season checklist canbe accessed on www. cdc.
gov/concussion, to help coaches and parents prepareathletes for their upcoming season and keep them updated on concussionmaterial throughout their season. As a high school football coach, I makeit a priority to keep my athletes educated on the proper techniques to keepthemselves safe from concussion, it is the due diligence of a coach to putsafety before winning or pride. Researcher’s ReputationTracey Covassin, PhD a graduate of Temple University, is an associateprofessor in the kinesiology department and a certified athletic trainer inthe Sports Medicine Program for the Department of Athletics at MichiganState University. Tracey Covassin’s area of expertise is kinesiology andshe currently has an active grant with the Joe D. Pentecost Foundation: AProspective Examination of Neurocognitive Function, Balance, and SymptomReporting in Youth and High School Athletes with Sport-Related Concussions.
R. J. Elbin, PhD is an assistant professor in Exercise Science at theUniversity of Arkansas, and Director of Office for Sports ConcussionResearch. Dr. Elbin’s research focuses on developing best practice forconcussion education; identifying factors that contribute to concussionrisk and prolonged recovery; and documenting the persistent effects ofconcussion on neurocognitive, psychosocial, and vestibular/oculomotorfunctioning in youth and adolescent athletes.
Dr. Elbin has also given over 100 lectures on sports related concussionsand has published over 60 peer-reviewed publications for journals. Kelly Sarmiento, MPH expertise are in the “Heads Up” program and concussionwhere she serves a Health Communications Specialist for the Division ofUnintentional Injury Prevention’s Home and Recreation Team. Kelly leads the”Heads Up” program which is intended to educate all who have a commonobjective to prevent, recognize and respond to concussions in children. Kelly obtained her Bachelor’s degree from University of California, SantaBarbra and her Master’s degree from Yale University School of Epidemiologyand Public Health.
Her innovations have led to her being awarded within thepublic health and health communication fields. ReferencesTracey Covassin – Directory – College of Education – Michigan StateUniversity. N. p. , n. d.
Web. 05 Apr. 2017. https://education.
msu. edu/search/Formview. aspx?email=covassin%40msu. edu.
Dr. R. J. Elbin Bio.
N. p. , n. d. Web. http://learntelehealth.
org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Elbin_Bio. pdf. A brief bio of Dr. Elbin and hisreputation.
“Executive Leadership and Expert Bios. ” Centers for Disease Control andPrevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31 Mar. 2016.
Web. 05 Apr. 2017. https://www. cdc.
gov/injury/pressroom/fullbios_subjectmatterexperts/bio_kellysarmiento. html. Covassin, T. , Elbin, R. J.
, & Sarmiento, K. (2012). Educating coaches aboutconcussion in sports: evaluation of the CDC’s “Heads Up: concussion inyouth sports” initiative. The Journal of School Health, 82(5), 233-238.doi:10.1111/j.1746-1561.2012.00692.