Technology is now playing a bigger role in treating sports concussions, as a recent study in which concussion specialists shows the employment of telemedicine in determining if athletes should be taken out of a game in real time. This is an important step forward in medical sports science as, alarming as it may sound, between 1.6 and 3.8 million traumatic brain injuries or TBIs happen annually, and over 75 percent of these are sports-related.
Modern science has proven that telemedicine is both an effective and safe way to evaluate and treat various neurological conditions. More physicians are seeing how this can be used in managing concussions in most major professional sports in the U.S. Now, specialists are keen on bringing this novel way of handling concussions and TBIs in general to the country’s youth and collegiate programs, where generally, there is a dearth of adequate and trained medical personnel.
Again, the idea is to address these types of injuries in real time, on the sidelines. Neurologist and concussion expert Dr. Amaal Starling and concussion program director Dr. Bert Vargas of the UT Southwestern Medical Center recently led a study that evaluated male football players in the collegiate level who’ve suffered from concussion over two consecutive seasons. Both doctors evaluated the affected athletes using a telemedicine robot, following various standardized concussion tests and assessment tools.
The doctors agreed that the results were conclusive in that removal from play was the best recourse. And this opinion was seconded by the team’s athletic trainer. This study is particularly groundbreaking in that it makes a good case for using telemedicine as a neurologist’ tool in athletics, particularly in the crucial moments immediately after the incurrence of a possible concussion and the necessity for quick medical response.
Dr. Curtis Cripe is the head of research and development at the NTL Group, which specializes in neuroengineering programs aimed at the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders connected to head injury, depression, anxiety, memory disorders, and learning disorders. More on Dr. Cripe and his work here.