Consistency and Variation in School-Level Youth Sports Traumatic Brain Injury Policy Content

Kathryn Coxe, Kelsey Hamilton, Hosea H. Harvey, Joe Xiang, Marizen R. Ramirez, Jingzhen Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of the study was to examine the consistency and variation in content of high school written traumatic brain injury (TBI) policies in relation to the three key tenets of youth sports TBI laws. Methods: A content analysis was conducted on written TBI policies retrieved from 71 high schools currently participating in High School Reporting Information Online. Each policy was independently analyzed by two trained coders. The number and percent of the policies reflecting the three key tenets of state youth sports TBI laws were described and compared on policy enforcement (i.e., strictness of language), policy description (i.e., details and definitions of the requirements), and policy implementation steps (i.e., specific steps for implementing the requirements). Direct quotes were identified to support quantitative findings. Results: All 71 high school TBI policies contained at least two of the three main TBI law tenets, where 98.6% (n = 70) included the return to play tenet, 83.1% (n = 59) included the removal from play tenet, and 59.2% (n = 42) specified the distribution of TBI information sheets to student-athletes and their parents. Nearly half of the policies (49.3%, n = 35) required parents’ signature while only 39.4% (n = 28) required students’ signature on the TBI information sheet. The language exhibited wide variance across the 71 TBI policies regarding policy enforcement, policy description, and policy implementation specifications. Conclusions: All 71 TBI policies covered at least two of the three youth sports TBI law tenets, but with considerable variation. Future research should assess variations by schools within the same state and their impact on TBI rates in school athletics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-264
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (grant # 30822 ). The interpretations and conclusions in this article do not necessarily represent those of the funding organization.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine


  • Content analysis
  • High school
  • TBI
  • Written policy


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