L47 — November 2011 — Concussion Telemedicine
Intro: There's been a lot of media coverage lately about concussions in sports like football and hockey. Doctors are urging players and coaches to take these head injuries seriously and to have injured athletes evaluated by a concussion expert. But what if you live in a rural area that doesn't have a neurologist? How can injured athletes get the care they need? Mayo Clinic has the answer. Telemedicine.
It happened in the third quarter of a football game.
I just got hit really hard.
Sophomore tackle Austin Mills suffered a significant concussion.
I couldn't remember anything from the game, and I was super scared at that point. I didn't know what happened. I didn't know where I was.
Austin lives in the rural town of Show Low, Arizona. There is a hospital, but because it's so small, it's not staffed with neurologists — experts in concussions. But thanks to telemedicine, Austin has access to Mayo Clinic neurologists who can examine him and recommend treatment options from hundreds of miles away.
Have you ever had a concussion before?
Dr. Bert Vargas helped launch the telemedicine concussion program at Mayo Clinic.
Do you still have any symptoms at all?
I'm really tired all the time. I'm dizzy. I have headaches, migraines constantly.
Teleconcussion is in its pilot stages. And at some point we would like to be able to provide the evidence that it's a safe and effective and definitely cost effective means of clearing these athletes for play.
And I want you to quickly just touch your nose five times and then extend your arm all the way out again.
Clearing athletes for play is key, because if they return too soon and get another concussion they could suffer serious and possibly permanent injury.
This is the first civilian program to use telemedicine technology for concussion patients. With it, athletes like Austin have access to experts who can make sure he's healthy before he returns to the field.
For Medical Edge, I'm Vivien Williams.
Dr. Vargas says other tools that are essential to helping evaluate players with concussions are baseline cognitive function tests. These tests provide a record of what's normal for each athlete. If he or she gets a concussion, they can then retake the test and compare it to the first one. And if there are issues, they can get proper treatment.
In addition to concussion patients, Mayo Clinic also uses telemedicine for stroke patients.
For more information, visit our website at …
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