AN EXPLORATION OF ADOLESCENT STUDENTS’ RETURN-TO-SCHOOL TRANSITION AFTER SUSTAINING A SPORT-RELATED CONCUSSION
Background Information Concussions are the leading cause of head trauma in the Canadian paediatric population (Paniccia and Reed 2017). Twenty to thirty percent of children/adolescents experience persistent post-concussive symptoms which last longer than four weeks (CPS 2014; McCrory et al. 2018). Persistent symptoms and prolonged school absence impede a student’s ability to perform the occupation of going to school, which is problematic given the vital role participation at school has in childhood development (Hinder and Ashburner 2017). Return-to-play has been the focus of concussion research, neglecting the return-to-school (RTS) process. A literature review was carried out to investigate what is known about the RTS transition for students post-concussion. Emergent themes include issues with current RTS processes, considerations prior to RTS, and recommendations to improve the RTS transition. Aim The intent of the proposed descriptive phenomenological study is to explore the RTS process experienced by adolescents with persistent post-concussion symptoms (PPCS) in their school setting. Methods Prospective participants include assenting 13-16-year-old adolescents with parental consent, who have only sustained one previous sport-related concussion, experienced persistent post-concussive symptoms (>4 weeks), are currently asymptomatic and have fully transitioned back to school. Participants will be recruited from school boards in the south-eastern region of Ontario, Canada. Data is to be collected through in-person, semi-structured, one-on-one interviews in the participants’ school setting. Five to ten participants will be sought out and a follow-up session will take place for the participants to verify the findings based on the researcher’s analysis of the data. Expected Outcomes The research expects to provide insight on the lived experience of returning-to-school post-sport-related concussion, to inform what gaps needs to be prioritised in terms of future research, policy development and education of stakeholders. Specifically, the results are intended to highlight the needs of adolescent students who experience PPCS upon their RTS.