George Mason Sports Concussion Project

The ACHIEVES program created by George Mason University sought to improve healthcare for student athletes in Prince William County Schools. All the high schools and middle schools received educational seminars and improvement of their electronic medical record keeping system. However, Forest Park and Garfield high schools got the benefit of having graduate students from GMU’s athletic training program to work alongside their full-time athletic trainers. Having an additional trainer at each school helped to drastically improve the healthcare provided to student athletes.

The number of injuries recognized and treated rose drastically at Forest Park High School with the GMU graduate student on site. Compared to the previous school year injuries recognized increased 188%, treatments delivered increased 127%, concussions diagnosed increased 143%, and ImPACT tests administered increased 135%. This increased standard of care is critical for the 30% of students who qualify for free or subsidized lunch at these schools and may not have any other access to health care besides the high school trainers. Although the high school students were not the only ones benefiting from the program, the graduate students gained valuable real world experience from the program. Jeane, who worked alongside the trainers at Forest Park, talked about her experience, “This school year, in thanks to the ACHIEVES grant, has not only enhanced my post-graduate learning, but also I know that healthcare in Prince William County has improved.”

Parents, students, and faculty from schools from Forest Park and Gar-Field High Schools were very impressed with the high quality of care provided. Letters of support and thanks highlight the real impact of this program. One parent wrote, “Because of having both Ms. Shanks and Ms. Ryder (ACHIEVES athletic trainers) I feel that my sons are in the best hands and care.”

An assistant principle from Forest Park said of one trainer, “She has been an extremely positive addition to the athletic department, one I hope will continue.”

Fred Milbert, the supervisor of health, physical Education, and athletics for Prince William County Schools, best sums up the positive impact of the program in his statement “This opportunity for Prince William County Public Schools to partner with George Mason University’s Certified Athletic Training Master’s program has extended our efforts to reach great levels of student athlete care, parent and student education, and service to underserved students and athletes.”

To read more about the success of this project visit the George Mason website.


About the Author
The Potomac Health Foundation is an independent, private foundation organized exclusively for charitable purposes. The Foundation seeks to improve health and wellness for the people residing in the Foundation’s service area.