Mobile App

CDC mobile app teaches concussion safety to children

The game’s foundation is scientific, but kids think it’s fun.

CDC HEADS UP Rocket Blades—The Brain Safety Game - Logo


Physically active young children who are prone to accidents may not know what to do if they sustain an injury that doesn’t involve lots of pain or blood that would send them rushing to adults for help. Concussions fit in that category, so the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), working with Banyan Communications, set out to find a way to get the message across to that age group. In doing so, they’ve won first place in the “Mobile App” category of Ragan’s 2017 Health Care PR & Marketing Awards.

The CDC already had a campaign, HEADS UP, addressing youth head injuries. Under that banner, the CDC developed Rocket Blades, a continuous-runner game in which players dodge obstacles in an effort to complete a racecourse. Players advance through six levels, each progressively more difficult. Players can’t beat the game, but they can rack up high scores they can try to beat the next time around. 

The game employs scientific models for learning in order to teach kids two fundamental actions they should take if they might have a concussion: telling an adult and resting. Before they begin playing, players watch a short video that explains the game and introduces basic information about concussion safety. 

Evaluation data aren’t available yet, but the underlying science, the early evidence that kids love playing the game and the innovative approach to teaching the subject matter are all impressive.

Congratulations to the Banyan Communications team of Cristina Sansone, Kelly Sarmiento, Isa Miles, Bill Marchant, Brittaney Bethea, Sally Deval, Dalton Harpe and Tori Mauch.

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