Improving concussion awareness and education

Edinburgh-born collaborative project ConcussEd raises awareness about concussion and is improving how concussion education is delivered.


Research hub

Sport-Related Research

Research experts and interdisciplinary team

Dr Stephanie Adams Dr Jonathan Hanson
Dr Tony Turner Dr Kathryn Schneider
Hugh Richards Stew Fowlie
Professor John Sproule Ross Simpson
Dr Jessica Mirman Peter Robinson

Dr Dan Mirman


What was the problem?

Concussion is one of the most common brain injuries and an estimated 50% of them go unreported or undetected. Most people think that someone needs to be knocked out to sustain a concussion but that’s not true. Many other myths around concussion prevent people from helping to spot the potential signs and symptoms and knowing what to do if they suspect it’s happened. People also believe that concussion mainly happens in high-contact sports like rugby or American football. But concussion can happen anywhere, including in sports like cycling and motor sports or in the playground at school or during Physical Education (PE).

Many people who get concussion may go on to develop adverse physical, mental and emotional consequences. Some of these consequences may be avoided through better prevention and management, and effective concussion education and knowledge exchange is a critical part of this.

What did we do?

The research team uses both qualitative and quantitative approaches to psychological science and education. They are working to understand how knowledge, attitudes and behaviours change over time and before and after evidence-based interventions. They focus on ‘individual differences’ and consider the role and understanding that each learner (e.g., student athlete, teacher, coach) brings to the classroom, whether learning online or in-person. 

What happened next?

The research team aimed to (1) raise awareness about concussions and (2) raise awareness about research into concussion education, amongst young people, student athletes, coaches, teachers, parents and supporters. The team focused on developing knowledge and understanding about concussions, including knowing where to turn when and if it happens. Dr Stephanie Adams established ConcussEd to help make accurate concussion information more accessible and memorable for all stakeholders.

New Concussion Video

ConcussEd launched a new video about concussion to highlight the need for better education around the injury.

Watch the video and share it using the hashtag #ConcussEd

See more about how sports stars supported this concussion initiative

Once you know a Concussion is a Brain injury and that all Concussions are serious, this video and the work Stephanie and her team are doing through ConcussEd is crucial. We have made so much progress in concussion over the years, but we have so much more to do. Effective education is an investment… It’s preventative, and an opportunity to help change the culture. Just because things have been done a certain way for years doesn’t mean it’s right. The opportunity to change bad culture and practice is now, "If In Doubt, Sit Them Out". It’s time we reframe the conversation. I’m pleased to support this project.

Peter RobinsonConcussion Campaigner, Father of the late Ben Robinson

Student Athletes Project

Dr Adams and a team of researchers across Moray House School of Education and Sport and the School of Health and Social Sciences lead educational programmes to support concussion prevention, identification and management through the Student Athletes project.

Student athletes from all sports and levels from across the UK are invited to take part in this 2-part course. Research evaluation carried out as part of this project will enable the researchers to measure the impact of the course, including barriers and facilitators to change and the ways in which the course can be improved for the future.

ConcussEd Schools Project

Concussions affect young learners’ ability to learn and function well in the classroom, not just on the sports field or in PE class. Therefore, teachers and schools have an important role to play in concussion awareness and management. Effective and pragmatic strategies are needed to support schools and their staff to implement 'guidance' and to improve the quality of concussion management processes.

Since 2015, Dr Adams and colleagues at Moray House School of Education and Sport have been working with teachers to improve their understanding and awareness of concussion, through evidence-based programming that considers the resources and systems within the UK.

The research team delivers concussion education programming in a range of formats, including short courses, workshops and talks. They also host a knowledge exchange network that meets regularly, and they work collaboratively with stakeholders across Scotland.

Related study programmes

Applied Sports Science (BSc Hons)

Physical Education (MA Hons)

Performance Psychology (MSc/PgDip)