Date of Award


Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Veronica Rowe

Second Advisor

Carolyn Podolski


Background: Concussion or mild traumatic brain injury impacts approximately 4 million individuals per year making it one of the most common brain injuries (Concussion statistics and facts: UPMC: Pittsburgh, 2023). Approximately half of these concussions result from sports or recreation (Concussion statistics and facts: UPMC: Pittsburgh, 2023). The extremely high rates of concussions in young athletes have become a public health issue (Concussion statistics and facts: UPMC: Pittsburgh, 2023). Although considered to be mild traumatic brain injuries, concussions can be serious, and symptoms can pose significant complications that may impact everyday functioning (Marar et al., 2012). Concussions can pose significant complications if not properly addressed by health professionals, caregivers, or the impacted individual. Literature has shown a gap in concussion knowledge in parents and caregivers which can worsen health outcomes for children at risk of concussions. Occupational therapists have a unique skill set that allows for a broad range of intervention for concussions from client education to remediation strategies for long-lasting symptoms. After diagnosis and the ruling out of more serious complications, the first form of treatment should be education for the individual and their family or caretakers (Silverberg et al., 2020). The problem is that there is currently a lack of comprehensive guidelines for occupational therapy services in concussion management and therefore a lack of occupational therapy professionals in the field. The purpose of this capstone project is to advocate for occupational therapy services in the field and improve health outcomes in youth athletes at risk of sustaining a concussion. This will be accomplished through a program to increase knowledge of the role of occupational therapy in concussion management for youth athletes through educational programs for parents of youth athletes and future occupational therapists. Methods: Based on the findings from the needs assessment, it was determined that two separate educational programs were needed. The first program being a video-based educational presentation for parents and caregivers of young athletes in the Cherokee County parks and recreation department and the second being a module for the Brain Injury Elective Course at Georgia State University. Both educational program materials were developed using pre-existing literature and expertise from mentors and stakeholders. Both programs were developed to increase concussion knowledge as well as advocate for occupational therapy services for individuals with concussion. Outcomes: The overall outcome of this capstone experience was an increase in concussion knowledge. The outcome materials developed include an educational video presentation, a sustainability plan, and a learning module. Evidence of knowledge increase is seen in the results from the pre-test and post-test results observed during the parent and caregiver education program. It is projected that the educational programs for parents, caregivers, and students will continue to increase knowledge in concussions in the future. Discussion: With a growing number of concussion cases reported each year, occupational therapists are in a unique position to not only help individuals experiencing symptoms that are impacting occupations but also advocate for their profession and educate more individuals on what the field of occupational therapy entails (Van Lew & Waskiewicz, 2020). In conjunction with the creation of practice guidelines, occupational therapy practitioners must advocate for the profession by defining the unique set of skills that can be used to improve health outcomes of individuals experiencing lasting concussion symptoms.

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