Maple League Mid-term Progress Report – Interactive Online Concussion Education Tool

Updated: Dec 14, 2021

Principal Investigator: Dr. Colin King (Acadia) Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Loriann Hynes (York University) Co-Investigators: Tara Sutherland (St. FX), Jocelyn Dowling (Mount Allison), Katrina Lambert (Bishop’s), Curtis Arsenault (Acadia)

The Maple League funded nine projects in 2019/2020 to promote and facilitate collaborative research, innovative teaching, spring and international field study programs, and travel amongst the four campuses. We are delighted to share, in a series called the Maple League Funding Spotlight, progress reports from these projects. We are particularly interested in the insights and impact these funded projects have had on their communities in the time of COVID. We had a chance to sit down with Dr. Colin King from Acadia University to talk about their project and learn more about collaboration across the four universities.


JESSICA RIDDELL (EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE MAPLE LEAGUE): The guiding question that animates all our Maple League collaborations is: “What can we do together that we cannot do on our own?” How does this resonate with the project you’ve undertaken?

COLIN KING, PRINCIPAL INVESTGATOR (ACADIA UNIVERSITY): Our project has helped to build a community of practice of athletic therapists throughout the Maple League, by sharing expertise, experiences, and challenges of assessing and managing concussions. This approach has been beneficial as we were able to then take these experiences and build authentic scenarios to further educate future students. Concussions are such an individualized injury that it is important to get students to think about the many different layers/factors that should be considered when assessing or managing a potential concussive injury. There are so many situational examples that can happen (and often do when dealing with this injury), and we are designing our tool to help better prepare students for such situations. This collaborative approach allows us to create realistic scenarios that can provide students from across the Maple League with more diverse learning experiences than they would traditionally receive at their own institution.

JR: How does your project benefit from working and learning in relationship-rich environments?

CK: Everyone involved in this project has unique backgrounds and experiences, especially when it comes to assessing and managing concussions. Each member brings unique examples, challenges, and experiences that future students can learn from. Our main goal from this project is to develop an educational tool that students can engage in, to stimulate further critical thinking about what they would do if faced with similar situations on the sidelines. It is not a simple “review the content and pick the correct answer” type of tool. These types of realistic situational questions are not often covered in traditional concussion education lectures/resources as so much focus is placed on providing assessment and management knowledge, and assuming that students are acquiring that knowledge. And although this tool includes components of assessment and management knowledge, it goes far beyond that by using effective pedagogical strategies to enhance theoretical knowledge acquisition and skill/competence development, while engaging students in critical thinking and reflection.

JR: What kind of impact has your project had – on your own work, on institutional cultures, or beyond the academy – with your project?

CK: Personally, working through this project has made me think about how we educate our own students about concussion assessment and management. The purposeful reflection that has come from this process has led to updating the concussion assessment/management policies and procedures at our institution. It has also made me think about how I currently teach students about this topic and has changed my individual pedagogical approach. Moving forward, once we finish this tool, we will be able to explore the effectiveness of this pedagogical approach in diverse groups of health professional students.

JR: Has the global pandemic affected your project and/or your understanding of collaboration? If so, why? If not, why?

CK: The biggest impact that the pandemic had on this project was the timing. All of the collaboration and planning was going to happen virtually anyways, regardless of the current state of COVID or provincial health guidelines. But everyone involved had their own unique circumstances that led to a delay in starting the project. Some individuals (me included) had the new challenges of finding a work/life balance with young kids who were now at home all the time, as three- and four-year-olds have a completely different concept of what “research” means. Others stepped into new roles at their institution to assist in COVID response planning. So, the pandemic did not have an impact on our plan for the project, just the timing in getting it started.

Interested in learning more? Here is a brief description of the project:

The purpose of this project is to design an interactive online educational tool that engages aspiring health professional students in realistic concussion assessment and management scenarios. These scenarios integrate the knowledge and practical skills required to effectively recognize, assess, and manage concussions in diverse sport settings. All scenarios are created by experts in the field to ensure that they are representative of the many challenges that can occur when trying to assess and manage a concussion during real life situations. Many educational tools and text-based scenarios neglect this important aspect, which forces students to miss out on important learning opportunities. Additionally, there are many events that can arise during a concussion assessment, and this tool will engage students to think about how they would response to these various situations.

Contact us:

For more information about this project, contact Dr. Colin King at colin.king@acadiau.ca.

For more information on funding opportunities, visit: http://mapleleague.ca/about/funding-opportunities/

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