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A Comparison of Student and Parent Knowledge and Perceived Confidence About Brain Injury and Concussion

O'Brien, Katy H.; Schellinger, Sarah K.; Hwang, Brenda L.; LaPlaca, Michelle C.

doi: 10.1097/TLD.0000000000000190
Original Articles

Purpose: The public has long had misconceptions about traumatic brain injury (TBI) and its effects. Concussion education targeted toward athletes has been increasing with passage of return-to-play laws in all 50 states. The current study examined differences in public knowledge about TBI and concussion, and the extent to which students and parents in the general public may have benefited from increased availability of education around concussion.

Methods: At a public fair, 246 students, parents, and other adults completed a survey adapted from existing TBI and concussion knowledge surveys. Participants also rated their confidence in accuracy of their responses.

Results: There were no group differences on TBI knowledge or confidence. Parents scored slightly higher on concussion knowledge than students, and knowing someone with a TBI or concussion was also associated with higher scores. Confidence was only weakly related to concussion knowledge. Overall concussion knowledge scores were higher than TBI knowledge scores. Knowledge and confidence were not associated with sports participation.

Discussion: Given similarities in TBI knowledge across groups, but that parents outpace students in concussion knowledge, parents may have greater exposure or heightened awareness of concussion information education opportunities. Lower confidence in students suggests an openness to education and opportunities for prevention of injuries.

Communication Sciences and Special Education, University of Georgia, Athens (Dr O'Brien and Ms Hwang); Communication Sciences and Disorders, Saint Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois (Dr Schellinger); and Translational Neurotrauma Laboratory, Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech/Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia (Dr LaPlaca).

Corresponding Author: Katy H. O'Brien, PhD, CCC-SLP, Communication Sciences and Special Education, University of Georgia, 540 Aderhold Hall, 110 Carlton St, Athens, GA 30602 (

The authors gratefully acknowledge the Brain Injury Association of Georgia for their support of this project. Special thanks also to the research assistants in the Cognitive-Communication Rehabilitation Lab at the University of Georgia, and in particular, Desiree Peña for her efforts in training and coordinating the research team.

Drs O'Brien and LaPlaca are board members for the Brain Injury Association used for recruitment in this study.

The authors have indicated that they have no financial and no nonfinancial relationships to disclose.

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