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Concussion education for youth athletes using Pre-Game Safety Huddles: a cluster-randomised controlled trial


Objectives Determine whether Pre-Game Safety Huddles, a novel and low-resource approach to concussion education, increase the expected likelihood of concussion reporting for youth athletes.

Methods A cluster-randomised trial compared Safety Huddles to usual care. Safety Huddles bring together athletes and coaches from both teams before the start of each game for coaches to briefly affirm the importance of speaking up if a concussion is suspected. Participants were athletes from 22 competitive community-based American football and girls and boys soccer teams (ages 9–14), and randomisation into intervention or control occurred at the level of the bracket (group of teams that compete against each other during the regular season). The primary outcome was expected likelihood of reporting concussion symptoms to the coach, measured via validated athlete survey at the beginning and end of the season.

Results Of 343 eligible participants, 339 (99%) completed baseline surveys and 303 (88%) completed surveys at season end. The mean (SD) age was 11.4 (1.1) years, 26% were female soccer athletes, 27% were male soccer athletes and 47% were football athletes. In adjusted analyses accounting for baseline values and clustering by sport and team via random effects, expected likelihood of concussion reporting at the end of the season was significantly higher in the intervention group compared to controls (mean difference=0.49, 95% CI 0.11 to 0.88; Cohen’s d=0.35).

Conclusions and relevance Pre-Game Safety Huddles increased the expected likelihood of athletes reporting concussion symptoms. While further study is warranted, sport organisations should consider this approach a promising low-resource option for improving concussion safety in their setting.

Trial registration number NCT04099329.

  • Concussion
  • Behavior Change
  • Health Education
  • Recreation / Sports
  • Randomized Trial

Data availability statement

Data are available upon reasonable request. Deidentified data are available upon reasonable request.

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