Statement of Purpose This study aimed to assess the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of Make Play Safe (MPS), a virtual reality (VR) app intervention to improve concussion recognition and reporting among youth soccer athletes ages 9 to 12.
Methods/Approach We first assessed the feasibility and acceptability of MPS, a VR app intervention to educate youth soccer athletes about concussion and the importance of concussion reporting. We collected data from healthy soccer athletes ages 9–12 (n=11) via a workshop and from their parents and coaches (n=8) via a focus group. We then assessed the preliminary efficacy of MPS in concussion recognition among youth soccer athletes by asking youth soccer athletes to view the VR app and complete pre- and post-MPS surveys about concussion-related knowledge, attitudes, and reporting intentions.
Results Healthy youth soccer athletes were eager to learn about concussion. They liked MPS because the scenarios presented in virtual environment were realistic, making them feel like they were actually on the soccer field. Parents and coaches noted that MPS would facilitate their communication about concussion safety, enhancing their child’s concussion reporting. Results from pre- and post-MPS surveys showed, on average, youth soccer athletes correctly identified 76% (SD=9%) of concussion symptoms at baseline. Changes in knowledge, attitudes, and reporting intention scores after MPS showed 7%, 11%, and 4% increases, respectively, from pre- to post-MPS.
Conclusion These preliminary results confirm the VR app intervention could positively impact youth’s concussion recognition, and their concussion-related attitudes and reporting intentions.
Significance Our results demonstrate the VR app intervention is feasible and offers initial evidence of efficacy. The VR app intervention improved youth soccer athletes’ concussion symptom recognition and concussion-related attitudes and reporting intentions. In addition, the VR app intervention motivated parents and coaches to talk to their children and teams, respectively, about concussion safety.
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