Development of Concussion Management Platform for Children and Youth: Bridging the Gap Between Research and Practice—The Back2Play App Study

The decision to return to activity (RTA) and return to school (RTS) following concussion is one of the most difficult areas in concussion management for children and youth. Prof. Carol DeMatteo and her research team have developed and evaluated evidence-based RTS and RTA guidelines to help children through their concussion recovery. In evaluating these protocols, Prof. DeMatteo found that children and youth had difficulties following the guidelines due to a lack of feedback and guidance. To address these issues, Prof. DeMatteo was awarded a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) grant to develop the Back2Play App.

The Back2Play App will help guide children and youth through the CanChild RTA and RTS protocols by incorporating biological feedback, movement data and cognitive assessments. This project consists of 3 phases, Phase 1: App Development, Phase 2: Pilot Study and Phase 3: A Randomized Controlled Trial (RCT). The RCT will evaluate whether the Back2Play App shortens the duration and intensity of concussion symptoms and prevents repeat injury in children and youth.

Prof. DeMatteo and her team are currently in Phase 1 (App Development) and are working with the mHealth and eHealth Development and Innovation Centre (MEDIC) at Mohawk to develop the Back2Play App. Phase 2, pilot testing of the Back2Play App with 30 children and youth aged 10-18, will begin January 2021.