Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)



First Advisor

Marlene Sotelo-Dynega

Second Advisor

Raymond DiGiuseppe

Third Advisor

Dawn Flanagan


Concussions, or mild traumatic brain injuries (mTBIs), are increasingly affecting school-age children in the United States. Despite this rising incidence, comprehensive return-to-learn plans for affected students are often inadequate and not utilized to the degree needed. This deficiency may stem from school psychologists' insufficient training, knowledge, and awareness regarding how to support these students effectively. This is further impacted by school psychologists’ exclusion in legislation or school district policies addressing concussion management, specifically in mandated professional development training. This is despite being recognized as essential members of the concussion management team (CMT). This study aimed to investigate school psychologists' familiarity and training regarding mTBIs and how they typically support students who have sustained such injuries. Eighty-nine school psychologists from various regions in the United States participated in the survey. Qualitative analyses revealed a lack of formal training and confidence among school psychologists in addressing mTBIs, despite self-reports of feeling qualified to assist affected students. The findings also underscored limited exposure to students with mTBIs and a lack of awareness regarding resources or protocols for concussion management. Consequently, school psychologists expressed a heightened interest in and need for further training opportunities on this topic. These findings indicate a significant gap between the potential resourcefulness of school psychologists and the actual accommodations received by students returning to school after an mTBI. However, this gap can be addressed through graduate programs incorporating training in this area and through adjustments to legislation and district policies to ensure consistent inclusion of school psychologists in relevant training initiatives. In summary, the study highlights the urgent need for enhanced training and support for school psychologists in addressing mTBIs among students. By bridging this gap, schools can better meet the needs of students recovering from concussions and facilitate their successful return to learning environments.

Included in

Psychology Commons