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Head Case: Education Effects on Bethel Students’ Knowledge, Attitudes and Beliefs about Concussions

Faculty Supervisor:
Dwight Krehbiel
Year of Project Completion:
Eric Preheim


Concussions are constantly in the media for their effect on former NFL players who are diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), typically post­mortem. A less reported effect of concussions is the one it has on student­athletes at the high school and college levels. The damage of concussions is partially the result of factors such as a lack of knowledge, misguided attitudes and beliefs, and inadequate management programs. This study used cluster sampling to survey thirty fall­sport, college athletes about their knowledge, attitudes and beliefs towards concussions. They were surveyed once more after the school­planned concussion education meeting with a local doctor for the athletes. The possibility of testing effects should be acknowledged because the pre and post­test forms were identical. Data analysis focused on comparisons between pretest and posttest scores. This analysis was narrowed to also focus on subgroups of the pre and post­tests. Attitudes and beliefs remained stagnant after the education. Knowledge of concussion symptoms changed in an unexpected way. The time in which one completed the posttest affected how accurately one would identify symptoms. An apparent sports culture exists and contributes to students’ feelings of hopelessness when learning about concussions. This hopelessness leads to identifying a significantly greater amount of potential symptoms as true symptoms.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.