School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Brian Yates


Student-athlete, Concussion, Mild Traumatic Brain Injury, Return to Learn, Accommodations, Qualitative


Accessibility | Education | Secondary Education


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore how a student-athlete suffering a concussion/mild traumatic brain injury copes academically in a high school environment. This case study sought to answer the question of how these student-athletes cope with their return to the classroom and are affected academically, physically, socially, and emotionally from multiple perspectives. Guiding this instrumental case study was an analytic generalization of the theory of planned behavior, social norm theory, Bandura’s social learning cognition theory, and the theory of mind. This bounded case study included one participant who had suffered a concussion and was returning to a high school educational environment in South Carolina. In addition to the case study participant, data were collected from teachers, family, friends, coach, school nurse, and others who were involved during the student’s concussion recovery. This data were collected through interviews, documentation, journaling, and focus groups. Data analysis includes coding for themes and triangulation of data to establish trustworthiness through credibility, dependability, confirmability, and transferability. The results of this case study revealed how the student was affected by her concussion in all areas researched: physical, academic, social, and emotional. The findings demonstrate the need for support as concussed student-athletes return to the classroom through better communication with all involved in the return to learn process, homebound instruction, and continuous reassessment of concussion protocols. Additionally, cognitive assessments should be developed to assist in determining timing for concussed students to return to the learning environment.