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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Rutgers: Team Pilots a School-Based Online Adolescent Student-Athlete Concussion Surveillance System

Rutgers School of Public Health team, led by Dr. Derek Shendell, has published a pilot study testing a school-based online adolescent student-athlete concussion surveillance system. Despite increased awareness of concussions, epidemiologic surveillance efforts have been scarce, especially among adolescents.

This project, which was developed in a community/schools-based research process with school stakeholders — certified athletic trainers (ATCs), nurses, athletic directors — piloted a public secondary school-based online surveillance tool for interscholastic and intramural sports and physical education-related concussions in New Jersey during 2014-2018, including three school years (SY). The initial papers, “Season and Sport-Specific Adolescent Concussions via Online Surveillance in New Jersey Public High Schools 2015–2017” and “Developing and Piloting a School‐Based Online Adolescent Student‐Athlete Concussion Surveillance System, both in the Journal of School Health, summarized data from the 2015-2017 school year.

Participating public high schools (five campuses within four districts) and career-technical-vocational education districts (two county districts with five campuses) completed forms anonymously online via PsychData within five days. The data was then analyzed by the research team. The team included research and program assistants Ms. Maryanne Fakeh, Ms. Lauren Gonzalez, Ms. Laura Jones, and Mr. Nimit Shah from the Rutgers School of Public Health as well as the Brain Injury Alliance of New Jersey.

School nurses followed by ATCs were the primary sources of data entered online, usually by ATCs. Cooperation of nurses and ATCs at participating schools suggested online surveillance was valued and viable. Data inform future concussion prevention education and ongoing injury surveillance.

This project was funded with two rounds of funding from Kessler Foundation.