Feb. 4, 2019

Kinesiology researcher partners with Université Laval on free concussion course

University of Calgary to deliver first massive open online course, or MOOC, starting April 8

Concussions are a serious public health concern. One in five Canadians report a sport-related concussion in their lifetime and an estimated one in 10 youth sustains a sport-related concussion each year. To improve concussion prevention, detection and management, the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary has developed a course for parents, coaches, teachers and administrators of school and sport environments, health-care professionals and those who have experienced a concussion. 

“This course demystifies concussion and explains how everyone can play a role to prevent, identify and manage this type of traumatic brain injury,” says Dr. Kathryn Schneider, PT, PhD, an assistant professor and clinician scientist (physiotherapist) in the Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre in the kinesiology faculty. “This program also demonstrates how a concussion management protocol can be adapted to the characteristics and resources of different sports and settings.” A concussion management protocol is a detailed process that outlines how to prevent, detect and manage concussions in a specific context.  

Schneider is an international leader on rehabilitation research in concussion in sport. She is an author of the latest International Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport (which includes preventing, assessing and treating sport-related concussions). As part of the process she was an expert panellist, scientific committee member and led a systematic review on the effects of rest and treatment following concussion.

“This online course will have a significant impact on concussion education,” says Dr. Penny Werthner, dean of the Faculty of Kinesiology. “Not only will this course engage students at UCalgary across multiple programs, it will lead to positive public health in communities locally, provincially, nationally and internationally.”

Connection with Université Laval

To deliver the course, Schneider is working with Dr. Pierre Frémont, Faculty of Medicine at Université Laval, who has taught a French ‘massive open online course,’ (referred to as a MOOC) four times since 2016 with more than 8,000 individuals completing the course.

“This collaboration of the two institutions on a concussion MOOC opens the possibility to reach beyond the formal networks of higher-level sport organizations and, literally, reach everyone concerned by concussion and help them do better about the prevention, detection and management of this injury,” says Frémont.

Accessible to everyone

This seven-week course, now open for registration, is a non-credited university-level course accessible to everyone. No prerequisites are required; however, a certificate of achievement can be requested for a small fee for those who have completed the course and have a pass mark on the exams. The course, titled On-line concussion course, will begin on April 8, 2019. The content will be updated regularly based on the latest available evidence to ensure the MOOC is kept current.

Participants will be able to interact with Schneider as course instructor and will also learn from a variety of videos of experts in their fields, including researchers, community partners, health-care professionals, policy-makers, athletes and sport and recreation representatives, many of whose research helped shape the International Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport.

“The University of Calgary is a world leader in concussion research. Now, with the MOOC, and in collaboration with Laval University, we will also be world leaders in fostering public awareness and education about concussion,” says Dr. Keith Yeates, PhD. Yeates leads the University of Calgary Integrated Concussion Research Program. He is also professor and head of psychology in the Faculty of Arts, and holds the Ronald and Irene Ward Chair in paediatric brain injury. He is an adjunct professor in the departments of paediatrics and clinical neurosciences in the Cumming School of Medicine.

Kathryn Schneider is also a member of Integrated Concussion Research Program and both the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACRHI) at the Cumming School of Medicine.

The Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary is ranked the No. 1 sport science school in North America and No. 7 globally. 

The Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre is one of 11 International Research Centres for the Prevention of Injury and Protection of Athlete Health supported by the International Olympic Committee.

Led by the Hotchkiss Brain InstituteBrain and Mental Health is one of six research strategies guiding the University of Calgary toward its Eyes High goals. The strategy provides a unifying direction for brain and mental health research at the university and positions researchers to unlock new discoveries and treatments for brain health in our community.