Pro, Case Studies

How Red Deer College Empowers Student-Trainers in Concussion Management

Student-trainers follow the correct process and instantly report suspected concussions
back to the Head Athletic Therapist

Red Deer, Alberta, a city of roughly 100,000 people located between Calgary and Edmonton, has a proud sporting tradition. Red Deer College (RDC) Athletics keeps that tradition alive by bolstering one of Canada’s top athletics programs. The Kings and Queens compete in the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) in basketball, cross country, curling, ice hockey, indoor track, soccer, and volleyball.

While they strive for excellence on and off the field of competition, RDC aims to create a healthy and safe training and competition environment for their student-athletes.

“Student-athlete safety is a high priority for us,” said Athletic Director, Diane St-Denis. “Given the risks of concussions in most of our sports and our reliance on student-trainers, we were looking for a better way to identify and manage concussions when we implemented HeadCheck.”

Goals

  • Follow a clear and consistent concussion protocol
  • Communicate with all individuals involved in an athlete’s recovery
  • Accurately collect data to make better-informed decisions

 Solution with HeadCheck

  • An app and web platform to execute concussion protocols and report injuries
  • A streamlined process for identifying, tracking and gathering concussion data
  • An app to guide Student Trainers through the correct step-by-step process

Results

  • Empower Student Trainers in documenting injuries accurately 
  • Instantly link data collected by student trainers on the road back to the Head Athletic Therapist
  • Reduce the amount of manual admin work for a small staff

THE REALITIES OF COLLEGIATE ATHLETICS

The RDC Athletics Department employs a small medical staff run by Head Athletic Therapist, Robyn Bagley.

Despite her wealth of experience as a Certified Athletic Therapist since 2000, Robyn felt that the traditional methods left her without a tool that could ‘paint a student-athlete’s entire concussion history all in one place.’

While having access to data is one thing, collecting it is another…

Robyn is responsible for approximately 175 active student-athletes and can’t be at every game, especially on the road.

She relies heavily on student-trainers as they’re often the only ones traveling with the teams on the road.

In their role, student-trainers are tasked with identifying suspected concussions, removing student-athletes from play, and relaying critical information back to Robyn in a timely fashion.

Before HeadCheck Pro, this frequently resulted in Robyn receiving a text message late in the evening when the team was “boarding the bus, or even the next morning.”

It also left her without confirmation that the correct concussion protocol was followed by student-trainers.

These concerns left Robyn and her supervisor wondering if there was a solution that could ensure student-trainers followed the prescribed concussion protocol and were empowered to remove injured student-athletes from play.

ENTER HeadCheck Pro

Diane and Robyn began evaluating the HeadCheck Pro app and web system following a presentation by HeadCheck Health Co-Founder and CEO Harrison Brown at the ACAC General Meeting in December 2018. Some comparative research led them to implementing it at the start of the 2019-20 athletic season.

A dedicated Customer Success Representative tailored HeadCheck Pro to RDC’s current concussion protocol and organization structure, making their transition to technology-based reporting hassle-free.

With HeadCheck Pro in place for student-trainers to access at all games and practices, it was a ‘gamechanger’ for Robyn. For the first time in 8 years she now could receive real-time notifications of suspected concussions instead of relying on text message updates.

This gave her the power to respond immediately to student-trainers and instruct them on what specialized care needed to be provided at the point of injury which is extremely critical for diagnosing injuries and improving the recovery time for her student-athletes.

Beyond that…Robyn and Diane have seen something else start happening…student-trainers feel more empowered to take action on suspected concussions because of the extra support provided from an extremely helpful and easy to use’ app.

For example, student-trainer Ally Potter felt empowered using HeadCheck, because she ‘really liked how efficient it allowed (her) to be at getting data and test results back to the athletic therapy staff’.

This direct link back to Robyn supports student-trainers like Ally despite often being new to their role or having limited experience dealing with the pressure of potentially removing a student-athlete from play.

MITIGATING RISK

Diane feels that HeadCheck Pro has given RDC “the ability to mitigate risk by bringing consistency in the application of their concussion management protocols.”

Now they can review all activity in real-time and receive monthly snapshots reports to identify any red flags.

They’ve reduced the opportunity for human-error by student-trainers relying on memory, paper forms, and text messages.

And they’ve noticed an increase in concussion talk and awareness amongst student-athletes and RDC’s Athletics Department staff after implementing HeadCheck.

Interested in empowering your student-trainers? Contact us and let’s discuss.

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