(LEXINGTON, N.C.-Sept. 19, 2012-) A new sports teleconcussion network at Lexington Medical Center is bringing the expertise of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center concussion experts to student athletes in the Lexington area.
Daryl Rosenbaum, M.D., director of the sports medicine fellowship program at Wake Forest Baptist, said the pilot program will target high school athletes across Davidson County. "The focus of the program is the concussion management of Davidson County athletes," he said. "We hope this unique telemedicine model will make it easier for the athletes, parents and medical providers in Davidson County to access the experience of our concussion clinic experts."
Staffed by Concussion Experts
The sports teleconcussion network will utilize world class physicians from several disciplines including:
- Sports medicine
- Vestibular rehab
Through advanced telemedicine technology, athletes can be assessed remotely at Lexington Medical Center by Wake Forest Baptist concussion experts without having to leave Davidson County.
"There are reported concussion estimates of around 300,000 American high school athletes each year, but numbers may increase as recognition of this injury improves," Dr. Rosenbaum said. Football is the leading source of concussions in boys, while soccer leads the cause among girls.
Knowledge Makes the Difference
Wake Forest Baptist sports medicine experts have met with all high school athletic directors in both the city and county school systems and are in the process of scheduling complimentary sports concussion assessments (SCAT2s) on local athletes. The SCAT2s will be on file at Lexington Medical Center and serve as a baseline assessment tool for concussion experts in determining potential brain injury in athletes suspected of having suffered a concussion.
"In the event of a potential, sports-related concussion, student athletes should be taken to a physician or to the emergency department at Lexington Medical Center for treatment," Dr. Rosenbaum said. "If a concussion is suspected, a follow-up visit can be scheduled at Lexington Medical Center so the student athlete can be assessed remotely via a mobile telemedicine robot."
Remote Technology Improves Access
The technology allows concussion experts at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to view the student's medical records and diagnostic images while interacting remotely with the student, the student's family and hospital staff. After thorough evaluation, the physician determines if additional treatment is needed and when it is safe for the student to return to play.
Even a small head impact can lead to big problems later in life which is evident by its 'hot topic' status in both the media and medicine. Proper diagnosis and follow-up are paramount in reducing the risk of long-term symptoms and complications. "The provision of a sports telemedicine network by Wake Forest Baptist concussion experts will go a long way in protecting the health of young athletes in Davidson County," said Steve Snelgrove, president of Lexington Medical Center. "The most difficult cases will have access to multidisciplinary concussion management teams available through our affiliation with a world class academic medical center."
Snelgrove added that while proper sports equipment, technique and adherence to the rules of the game can decrease the incidence or severity of concussions, nothing has been shown to prevent them. "Our local athletic directors are on board with the concept and understand the importance of concussion prevention and management," he said.
A concussion is a disturbance in brain function caused by a direct or indirect force to the head. It results in a variety of non-specific symptoms and often does not involve loss of consciousness. Concussion should be suspected in the presence of any one or more of the following symptoms including headache, unsteadiness or other physical signs, impaired brain function such as confusion, or abnormal behavior.
"Any athlete with a suspected concussion should be immediately removed from play, medically assessed and monitored for deterioration in physical condition," Dr. Rosenbaum said.
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