Stakeholder Perspectives on the School Experiences of Students With Traumatic Brain Injury: The Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic on Service Delivery

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Source

Journal of School Health


Background: For students with traumatic brain injury (TBI), the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated challenges they were already experiencing at school.

Methods: This qualitative study employed focus groups and interviews with students, parents, school, and medical personnel to explore the school experiences of students with TBI. Thematic qualitative analyses were used.

Results:Key themes from the analysis include (a) incidence of brain injuries decreased; (b) screen time for students with TBI exacerbated symptoms; (c) COVID protocols at school made it difficult for educators to identify and provide accommodations for students with TBI; (d) COVID protocols at school could inadvertently exacerbate mental health difficulties after a TBI; and (e) COVID-related logistics increased the time between an injury and return to school or return to play.

Implications for School Health Policy, Practice, and Equity: The results from this study suggest that professional development for teachers supporting students with TBI is needed, especially for online learning environments. Additionally, because mental/behavioral health concerns may arise for students with TBI in online learning environments, school health care providers can work with families to assess a student's mental health, making referrals to appropriate supports.

Conclusions There is a significant need for professional development and school-wide infrastructure supportive of students with TBI.



Document Version



John Wiley & Sons

Peer Reviewed



COVID-19; TBI; concussion; remote learning; school services; accommodations