CREATING USABILITY OF CURRENT PEDIATRIC CONCUSSION LITERATURE

Open Access
Author:
Roy, Rachel Elizabeth
Area of Honors:
Interdisciplinary in Information Sciences and Technology and Kinesiology
Degree:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Dr. Sarah Stager, Thesis Supervisor
  • Dr. Edward Glantz, Honors Advisor
  • Jinger Gottschall, Honors Advisor
Keywords:
  • Pediatric Concussion
  • Concussion symptoms
  • Return-to-play
  • computerized neuropsychological test
  • concussion diagnoatic tools
  • gender differences
Abstract:
Pediatric concussion research contains many gaps in the literature and brain trauma on the developing brain is poorly understood. While concussion awareness is on the rise due to youth-sport participation being at an all-time high, the current crisis of pediatric concussion is compounded by the lack of consistency in defining, diagnosing, and treating concussion. These inconsistencies impose undue stress on the injured and their family. Little has been done to compile resources in a meaningful way to present information to the relevant audiences, namely children and families. This thesis aims to answer the research question, “What is the current state of the field for pediatric concussion assessment and intervention?” and align the resources to benefit child and family. While research on child brain trauma is limited, sometimes conflicting, and not readily accessible to the intended audiences, this project is intended to provide clarity on how concussion is diagnosed, what to expect post-concussion, how to promote wellness, and best practices for full recovery. A survey of the literature will be utilized to collect, synthesize, and correlate research. Variables that influence concussion assessment and recovery are categorized into (a) symptomology, (b) location of the evaluation, (c) diagnostic technologies, (d) promotion of healing/return-to-play, and (e) gender differences. A major finding is that during and after puberty, males and females will experience vastly different susceptibilities to concussion and recovery durations. Many gaps in the pediatric concussion literature, such as why females are at higher risk for concussion, need to be further investigated. To promote healing, coordination must take place with physicians, coaches, teachers, and families after a youth concussion. Analysis of the research also suggests concussion diagnostic technologies should not be used in isolation, rather, a multimodal approach is most widely suggested as best practice following a pediatric concussion. This repository will serve to align the best practices of pediatric concussion assessment and intervention. The goal of this project is to empower children and parents with knowledge on how to identify concussion, what to expect post-concussion, and how to promote healing. With proper knowledge and intervention, unnecessary prescriptions, referrals, and aggravation of symptoms may be avoided. Further research is needed to extend this work into creating usability standards.