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Overview of the Peer Concussion Education Program

Overview of the Peer Concussion Education Program

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The Chestnut Hill College Peer Concussion Education Program (CHC-PCEP) employs a peer-mediated model of education to create a culture where student-athletes are stakeholders along with coaches, health care personnel (e.g. athletic trainers), and administrators with respect to concussion education, assessment, reporting and management. The primary goal of the program is to train student-athletes to become peer concussion educators to transform the culture of concussion from within the team itself as opposed to relying exclusively on experts from “outside” the team.  

Play the video of William Ernst, Psy.D. discussing the role of the Peer Concussion Educators in transforming the culture of concussion. 

Two peer concussion educators are selected from each team and are trained by appropriate faculty and/or staff to reinforce and enhance concussion knowledge amongst their teammates (Education Module 1). In general, increasing knowledge about concussion, including the potential for various physiological, cognitive and affective symptoms that may adversely impact functioning has the potential to increase concussion reporting. For example, concussion knowledge has been shown to be directly related to attitudes about concussion reporting with increased knowledge improving attitudes about reporting (Kroshus, et al., 2014). 

Following Education Module 1, the peer concussion educators are trained to use a cognitive-behavioral model of change with their teammates to identify thoughts that inhibit reporting of a known or suspected concussion experienced by self or teammates and to replace those thoughts with those that increase the likelihood of reporting (Education Module 2).

The CHC-PCEP begins with forming an interdisciplinary team to implement the program and to modify it, if necessary, to the needs of your organization. Next, the peer concussion educators are selected. Once selected, the peer concussion educators are trained by appropriate faculty and/or staff to provide Education Modules 1 and 2 to their teammates. This training session takes approximately 45-60 minutes. After completing their training, the peer concussion educators meet with their respective teams and provide education modules 1 and 2, which requires approximately 45-60 minutes. Therefore, the total time commitment for the peer concussion educators to receive their training and provide Education Modules 1 and 2 to their teammates is about 2 hours and the total time commitment for each sports team is about 45-60 minutes.

That said, the involvement of the peer concussion educators continues throughout the season as they typically serve as a liaison between their teammates, health care staff, and the coaching staff. Moreover, the peer concussion educators provide ongoing information and support on an as needed basis to their teammates both on and off the field.

Play the video below of a Peer Concussion Educator discussing her role as a Peer Concussion Educator both on and off the field 

The program occurs annually with the only change being the addition of a second peer concussion educator to replace those that graduate from their college or university. It is recommended that the program begin shortly following the student-athletes return from summer break; however, each organization and team will have to determine the optimal time to implement the program.    

It is important to note that the CHC-PCEP was designed for use along with an organization’s existing concussion education protocol. The program was designed to reinforce and enhance existing concussion education protocols, not to replace them. 

Click here to view more regarding the overview of the peer concussion education program.

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