Examination of Teacher Knowledge, Dissemination Preferences, and Classroom Management of Student Concussions: Implications for Return-to-Learn Protocols

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Abstract

Objectives. To determine teacher knowledge of (1) concussion symptomatology, (2) dissemination preferences, and (3) classroom management practices of student concussions. Study Design. A cross-sectional survey assessing concussion-related information was completed by teachers/instructors in the state of Alabama. Results. One-hundred and thirty participants completed the survey. Only a quarter perceived they were “very” or “extremely” confident enough to recognize signs related to a concussion (22.3%), and only 12.4% reported they were “very knowledgeable” about concussions. The majority were able to recognize more common concussion symptoms/challenges: headaches (95.4%), trouble concentrating (86.2%), memory (82.3%), balance problems/dizziness (82.3%), changes vision/hearing (76.2%), difficulty completing tasks (70.8%), difficulty making decisions (66.2%), changes in sleep (61.5%), and fatigue (60.8%); only half recognized emotional symptoms (e.g., mood) or symptoms associated with more prolonged recovery. Concussion informants were school nurses (74.4%), followed by parents (46.2%), students (46.2%), and coaches/athletic trainers (45.4%). A little under half of participants received concussion information as part of their job (41.9%). About 14.1% of teachers reported that someone had come to their school to talk with them as a group about concussions, and 82% felt they needed more information. Of the 37% who taught a concussed student, 83% reported they altered the classroom management strategies. Conclusions. In general, teachers were able to recognize the more commonly experienced concussion symptoms as well as management strategies. However, they appear to want greater concussion information and training. Given the daily influence of teachers on student tasks involving cognitive exertion, incorporation of formal concussion education for teachers is warranted.

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