UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Critical incidents in student return to school following concussion King, Rachel


The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of high school students’ experiences of returning to school after sustaining a concussion, and the barriers and facilitators that influenced a successful return. Utilization of the qualitative, Enhanced Critical Incident Technique (ECIT) methodology allowed for an exploratory, in-depth investigation of the topic. Through 6 individual, semi-structured interviews, male high school students injured through sport described the factors that helped them and hindered them when returning to school after concussion (i.e., critical incidents). Additionally, students identified supports they wished were available to assist them in their return to school (i.e., wish list items). From the interview transcripts, helpful and hindering Critical Incidents (CIs), and wish list (WL) items were generated. Through an iterative data analysis process, critical incidents were organized into eight emergent categories: Staff Knowledge, Understanding and Attitude to Concussion, Quality and Responsiveness of Planning, Impact of Academic Context, Impact of Environmental Context, In/Exclusion from Important Activities, Social Support, Change in Capacity, and Negative Psychological Impact. Interestingly, many categories encompassed critical incidents pertaining to both helping and hindering experiences and those categories that included both helping and hindering factors were also those endorsed as WL items. The findings are reflective of heterogeneity of student experiences and Return-To-Learn (RTL) practices in British Columbia (BC) but highlight avenues to improve student experiences of returning to school after a concussion. Finally, practical implications, study contributions, limitations, and directions for future research are discussed.

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