More Parents Are Receiving Concussion Education But Its Mileage May Vary

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It is a huge sign of progress that it is commonplace for parents of children involved in athletics to be asked to be provided some form of education about concussions, but some forms of education make parents feel more confident about their child’s’ participation than others according to a new University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

The poll found that approximately half of the 912 parents of middle and high school children surveyed participated in some form of concussion education. Of those, 23% read a brochure or online information, 17% watched a video or attended a presentation, 11% signed a waiver form with no other education provided, and 49% reported no concussion education at all.

Notably, parents of children who participate in sports were significantly more likely to receive concussion education than non-sports parents (58% compared to 31%).

“It is good news that many parents report they have received concussion education. We found, however, that the format of that concussion education really matters. The way the concussion information is delivered is linked to the parents’ confidence about managing their child’s injury,” says Sarah J. Clark, M.P.H., associate director of the National Poll on Children’s Health and associate research scientist in the University of Michigan Department of Pediatrics and U-M Medical School.

“Many schools mandate that a waiver form to be signed, but the danger is that parents will skip over information to get to that required signature line.”

Parents who were given more engaging forms of education reported feeling more confident with their child’s safety and the education provided. The poll showed that 63 percent of parents who watched a vieo or a presentation rated it as very useful, and 41 percent of parents who read a brochure or online information rated the material similarly.

On the other hand, only 11 percent of parents whose sole education on brain injuries was signing a waiver considered the form very helpful.

“If the waiver is done online or on a form returned to school, parents may be left without information at home to guide them if or when their child is injured,” said Clark.

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