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Teleconcussion–A New, Innovative Strategy For Assessing Young Athletes

November 9, 2012

Concussion is a common disorder estimated to affect no fewer than 1.7-3.8 million people in the U.S. each year. Many more people with concussion likely do not seek medical care for symptoms of concussion and may suffer long-lasting, progressive, and profoundcognitive, psychiatric, and neurologic effects. The first use of teleconcussion, a novel solution for management and follow-up of a concussed athlete with remote access technology, is described in an article published in Telemedicine and e-Health, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers (http://www.liebertpub.com). The article is available free on the Telemedicine and e-Health website (http://www.liebertpub.com/tmj).

In the article “Teleconcussion: An Innovative Approach to Screening, Diagnosis, and Management of Mild Traumatic Brain Injury,”(http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/tmj.2012.0118) Bert Vargas, MD and colleagues, Mayo Clinic Arizona–Neurology (Phoenix), present a case study in which telemedicine is used to assess and manage a high school athlete who had begun to resume physical activity following a concussion, in advance of accepted return-to-play guidelines. As in many states, Arizona law mandates that players of interscholastic sports removed from competitions for suspicion of having a concussion require formal clearance by a specially trained healthcare provider before returning to play. The use of telemedicine networks to facilitate timely access to subspecialty care can help ensure the health and safety of rural student-athletes.

“The ability to identify a mild traumatic brain injury (TBI) soon after it is sustained, whether on the battlefield or the sports field, is of great importance and high utility,” says Charles R. Doarn, MBA, one of the Editors-in-Chief of the Journal and Research Professor of Family and Community Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Ohio. “The integration of ‘teleconcussion’ and Vargas et al.’s work can add great value to this very important field.”

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