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Development of a tailored concussion education program for athletes: a pragmatic multimethods design and integrated knowledge translation approach from needs assessment to design.

BMJ Open 2023 November 30
OBJECTIVES: To understand Canadian university athletic programme concussion management needs, and to describe development and content of a tailored online concussion education tool for Canadian university/college athletes.

DESIGN: An integrated knowledge translation multiphased, multimethods approach was used. Phases included a needs assessment survey with university representatives and athletes, content selection, mapping behavioural goals to evidenced-based behaviour change techniques, script/storyboard development, engagement interviews with university athletes and tool development using user-centred design techniques.

SETTING: Canadian U SPORTS universities (n=56).

PARTICIPANTS: Overall, 64 university representatives (eg, administrators, clinicians) and 27 varsity athletes (52% male, 48% female) completed the needs assessment survey. Five athletes participated in engagement interviews.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Surveys assessed previous athlete concussion education, recommendations for concussion topics and tool design, concussion management challenges and interest in implementing a new course.

RESULTS: Institutions used a median (Med) of two (range 1-5) approaches when educating athletes about concussion. Common approaches were classroom-style education (50%), online training (41%) and informational handouts (39%). University representatives rated most important topics as: (1) what is a concussion, (2) how to recognise a concussion and (3) how to report a concussion (Medall =4.8/5). Athletes felt symptom recognition (96%) and effects on the brain (85%) were most important. The majority of athletes preferred learning via computer (81%) and preferred to learn alone (48%) versus group learning (7%). The final resource was designed to influence four behaviours: (1) report symptoms, (2) seek care, (3) encourage teammates to report symptoms and (4) support teammates through concussion recovery. Examples of behaviour change techniques included: knowledge/skills, problem-solving scenarios, verbal persuasion and social comparison. Athletes are guided through different interactions (eg, videos, flip cards, scenarios, testimonials) to maximise engagement (material review takes ~30 min).

CONCLUSIONS: The Concussion Awareness Training Tool for athletes is the first Canadian education tool designed to address the needs of Canadian university/college athletes.

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