Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Kinesiology & Public Health Education

First Advisor

Dennis Caine


In 2011, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) legislated that all NCAA institutions have a concussion management plan for their student-athletes. This new legislation only requires that member institutions "ensure student-athletes are educated about signs and symptoms of concussions," but provides no guidelines as to how this education should be delivered. Despite this initiative, researchers have shown that student-athletes still do not report all concussions to team personnel. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the NCAA's concussion-education protocol. This study was cross-sectional and retrospective in design, and used a paper-and-pencil questionnaire to gather data. One hundred and sixty NCAA division 1 student-athletes participated in this study. Of these 160 participants, 60 reported that they had suffered at least one concussion before becoming an NCAA athlete, and 54 reported that they had suffered at least one concussion since becoming an NCAA athlete. Of the 54 participants who reported suffering a concussion during their time as an NCAA athlete, 34 failed to report the injury. Results of the statistical analysis of the difference in concussion knowledge between athletes who reported and failed to report concussions was non-significant [(t(52) = 0.18, p = 0.86]. Similarly, analysis of the difference in level of perceived effectiveness of the current protocols between athletes who reported and failed to report concussions was also non-significant [(t(5) = -0.19, p = 0.85]. It appeared that the greatest deficit in participants' knowledge and understanding of concussions was the ability to recognize when a concussion had occurred. Based on these findings, future

research should focus on developing methods of improving participants' abilities to recognize concussions. Additionally, it is recommended that the NCAA develop guidelines as to how their concussion education program should be delivered to help ensure that student athletes have read and understand the concussion management plan. For example, a required online module and subsequent knowledge test could be completed before participation is allowed.