Mayo Study Uses Telemedicine to Treat Sport Concussions in Real Time
Sports-related concussions are prevalent on the collegiate level, and many times there isn’t sufficient medical personnel, such as concussion specialists, on the sidelines to handle these type of brain injuries.
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic joined up with the Northern Arizona University football team to conduct a study funded by the Mayo Clinic. The study had concussion specialists using telemedicine technology to determine in real time if a player needed to be removed from play due to head trauma.
For the study, either Bert Vargas, M.D., director of the concussion program at UT Southwestern Medical Center or Amaal Starling, M.D., neurologist and concussion expert at Mayo Clinic performed concussion examinations via a telemedicine robot. There were 123 athletes enrolled in the study, 50 of them participated through two seasons. They evaluated 11 male collegiate football players who suffered suspected concussions over two football seasons.
Vargas said, “During the remote examination, we had the ability to ask additional questions and repeat any portion of the physical evaluation, … The decision as to whether or not the athlete should be removed from play was made by both the athletic trainer and neurologist.”
According to the Mayo Clinic News article, “New study identifies way to treat sports-related concussions using telemedicine:”
Both physicians had high agreement with the evaluation scoring and 100 percent agreement of the most important decision — removal from play. This suggests neurologists may be able to use telemedicine to manage concussions, make removal from play decisions, and close the gaps in medical care by providing all collegiate and youth athletes similar concussion care as professional athletes receive.