Dr. Nancy Chinn’s Concussion Research Cited as “Substantial Contribution to the Field”

October 24, 2016

Santa Rosa, CA — The British Medical Journal Open Sport & Exercise Medicine published the sabbatical research study of Santa Rosa Junior College’s (SRJC) Acquired Brain Injury Specialist Dr. Nancy Chinn. The journal’s reviewers called the research a “substantial contribution to the field” and “significant for its public health contribution.” Dr. Chinn’s study explored the relationship between having concussion knowledge and reporting behaviors, and factors contributing to not reporting when education was provided.

The study is available online at bmjopensem.bmj.com/content/2/1/e000118.full.pdf+html

Early identification of concussion is paramount in mitigating the serious consequences of concussion. The NCAA and California Community College Athletic Association now mandate yearly concussion education for student-athletes.

Approximately 987 student-athletes from seven California Community Colleges participated in the research. Represented sports included football, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, men’s water polo, and women’s water polo. Results showed that the more often student-athletes were exposed to concussion education, the greater their concussion knowledge. Yet, greater concussion knowledge was not correlated with increased reporting of a concussion. The study revealed that physiological and attitudinal influences such as “adrenaline”, being “in the zone”, “instinct”, “self-evaluation”, duty to “family”, and “denial” play a role in concussion reporting.

Recommendations from Dr. Chinn’s study include exploring the effectiveness of alternate methods of providing concussion education to facilitate knowledge transfer. This includes providing education in the settings where student-athletes practice and compete, and incorporation of a kinesthetic learning approach to concussion education. 

At SRJC, the recommendations from Dr. Chinn’s research is in implementation. This fall, Dr. Chinn and SRJC Head Athletic Trainer Monica Ohkubo collaborated with head coaches from all collision/contact sports. The concept was to conduct the concussion education in the actual venues of play during practice drills. Emphasis was placed on experiential learning with athletes practicing “tapping out” to remove themselves from play and reporting the “need to be checked out” directly to their coaches.  Using “self-evaluation” as a signal to report and reporting a teammate who might have sustained a concussion were stressed. Initial feedback on this approach was positive from both coaches and student-athletes.