Survey of School-Based Coaches: Concussion Knowledge

In 2011, school-based coaches in Ontario were surveyed about their concussion knowledge. The survey consisted of 16 questions comprised of 4 background questions, 3 school board concussion guidelines questions, and 9 concussion knowledge questions. The 9 concussion knowledge questions were derived from the concussion guidelines set forth in the 2010 OPHEA Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines. The survey was set up in SurveyMonkey and the survey link was circulated by the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) through their coaches’ email distribution list and posted as a link on their website. The final convenience sample that voluntarily chose to participate in the survey consisted of 67 coaches from across Ontario comprised of 39 males (58%) and 28 females (42%) across the age range.

The majority of the sample (82%) coached secondary school students, while 6% coached elementary school students and 12% coached both levels. The sample coached a wide variety of sports with basketball (37%), rugby (30%), soccer (27%), ice hockey (22%), and football (21%) as the most popular.

Findings:

  • Of the 67 coaches who responded to the survey, 29 (43%) said there were concussion guidelines for athletes in place at their school board, 17 (25%) said guidelines were not in place, and 21 (31%) said they did not know.
  • Sixty percent of the coaches in the sample did not know how to access concussion guidelines for athletes at their school board.
  • Two gaps in concussion knowledge were identified: 1) what to do if an athlete experiences a loss of consciousness, and 2) what to do if an athlete does not experience a loss of consciousness, but a concussion is suspected.

As this was a convenience sample, it is unknown if these responses reflected the average school-based coaches knowledge and access to concussion guidelines at the time. Since that time, there is increased knowledge provided to school-based coaches through the OPHEA Ontario Physical Education Safety Guidelines as well as the resources provided through the Guidelines for Diagnosing and Managing Pediatric Concussion.