The Role of Athletic Trainers and Therapists in Improving Concussion Education from Coaches for Youth Athletes
Concussions are a serious concern in youth sports.
It is crucial that coaches and athletes participating in youth sports have access to the right information to manage concussions properly. Athletic Trainers and Therapists are specialized in concussion management and are one of the best resources for providing concussion education information in the youth sport setting.
In this blog post, we’ll be discussing the findings of a recent research study published in the Journal of Athletic Training on the availability of concussion information from coaches and the presence of Athletic Trainers in youth sports.
Overview of the Research Study
The research study was conducted by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The study analyzed self-report data from the youth portion of Porter Novelli’s 2021 ConsumerStyles survey. The survey asked youth aged 12 to 17 who played sport if their coaches provided concussion safety information and if Athletic Trainers were present at practices or games. The sample used in this research study included 829 youth respondents.
The study found that only 56% of youth reported that their coaches provided any sort of concussion education or information to them in the past 12 months.
However, among those who always or sometimes had Athletic Trainers at their practices or games, 76% reported that a coach provided some type of concussion education/information compared to 32% of those who rarely or never had Athletic Trainers at practices or games. This finding suggests that the presence of Athletic Trainers at practices or games is associated with a greater proportion of coaches providing concussion education to their athletes.
The findings of this study highlight the need for more comprehensive concussion education for coaches and the importance of the presence of Athletic Trainers at practices and games.
It is important to keep in mind that this study does have a couple of limitations. First, it is self-report data, meaning that the youth participants had to recall all of their answers. Second, the study only reports on associations. Therefore, we cannot make conclusions about causality between concussion education and presence of athletic trainers. Regardless, this study provides important first steps that will inform future research and CDC directives on concussion education and increasing access to athletic trainers in youth sport.
The study highlights the need for more comprehensive concussion education for coaches of athletes in youth sport. This is particularly important in contact sports, as well as non-school sports (i.e., leagues or club sport. The findings suggest that having Athletic Trainers at practices or games can improve the number of coaches providing concussion education and information to their youth athletes.
From my personal experience as an Athletic Trainer, this is likely due to Athletic Trainers providing regular concussion education sessions to coaches, parents, and athletes. I would speak about our school’s concussion policies at the parent/coach meeting at the start of each sport season. I found that it helped disseminate information and improve expectations related to concussion management at our school.
Further, for parents/guardians, it’s crucial to have conversations with coaches and Athletic Trainers to ensure that they have proper protocols in place for managing concussions. By working together, we can better protect the health and well-being of our young athletes.
HEADCHECK Health offers resources to protect the health and well-being of youth participating in sport! Contact us today to learn more!
Daugherty J, Waltzman D, Sarmiento K. Provision of concussion information from coaches and presence of athletic trainers: Findings from the 2021 YouthStyles Survey. J Athl Train. 2023 Jan 16. doi: 10.4085/1062-6050-0454.22. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 36645830.
- Celebrating 10 Years of Advancements in Concussion Research - December 6, 2023
- Non-Sport Concussions: Impact on College Athletes - November 9, 2023
- Equestrian Concussions: Navigating Health and Safety Challenges - September 20, 2023