Changing the Culture of Concussions

Published in Neurosciences, Pediatrics, Sports Medicine , For the Health of It Author: Manny Ravelo, MPH, Program Coordinator, Project BrainSafe

We love hockey! The Minnesota Wild have started their pre-season schedule. The St. Cloud State Huskies men's and women's teams start their season in just a few weeks. And many local youth hockey associations are starting their practices.

We also value your bucket over the biscuit. Project BrainSafe is launching an exciting new project centered around concussions in youth contact sports.

Research shows that a significant number of concussions go unreported. This can be for many reasons, including how athletes think their teammates, parents and/or coaches would feel about them reporting a concussion and possibly missing playing time.

Could there be athletes who would avoid reporting a concussion because they think they’d let their teammates, coaches and/or parents down if they have to sit out a few games?

What if they come to find out that these groups are supportive of a proper recovery, even if it means taking the bench for a while?

Would athletes be more likely to report suspected injuries?

This year, Project BrainSafe is partnering with the St. Cloud Youth Hockey League Association to launch the Postive Community Norms (PCN) program with St. Cloud’s athletes, coaches and parents.

We know that there may be misperceptions between how these groups are perceived and their actual beliefs and feelings about concussion reporting and management. As part of this program, Project BrainSafe will be addressing perceived and actual norms by anonymously surveying St. Cloud Youth Hockey League athletes, parents and coaches. We will also be displaying visuals known as "Spirit Messages" that promote concussion awareness through positive messaging.

The data we collect from the anonymous surveys will be shared with the St. Cloud Youth Hockey League Association Board, and we will work alongside them to:

  • Identify and reinforce actual positive values, beliefs and attitudes
  • Discuss opportunities for concussion education
  • Create a culture of safe, responsible and supportive play

Stay tuned! The more we learn — the more we will share with hockey families all over Central Minnesota.

Project BrainSafe will be at the St. Cloud Youth Hockey Registration & Fun Day!
The St. Cloud Youth Hockey League Association is hosting the New Player Information, Registration & Fun Day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at the St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex (5001 Veterans Drive St. Cloud, MN 56303).

If you’re interested in getting your child (ages 5 and up) started in youth hockey, the St. Cloud Youth Hockey League Association’s staff will be there to provide information on costs, equipment, schedules and general information. There also will be other fun activities during the day.

Stop by Project BrainSafe’s booth if you’d like more information on the Hockey PCN project, concussion awareness or to grab some goodies.
Find out more about Project BrainSafe by visiting:
• Our website: www.brainsafemn.com
• Social media: www.facebook.com/projectbrainsafe
Or call us directly at 320-229-5020.