Teleconcussion robot travels with college football team - Tucson News Now

Teleconcussion robot travels with college football team

Posted: Updated:
(Source: Mayo Clinic) (Source: Mayo Clinic)
  • Most ReadMost ReadMore>>

  • Student found dead in apartment identified as UofL cheerleader

    Student found dead in apartment identified as UofL cheerleader

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:44 AM EDT2014-07-29 14:44:12 GMT
    The name of a 22-year-old University of Louisville student who was found dead in an off-campus apartment Monday has been released.
    The name of a 22-year-old University of Louisville student who was found dead in an off-campus apartment Monday has been released.
  • Man's homemade 'trap' leads to neighbor's arrest

    Man's homemade 'trap' leads to neighbor's arrest

    A Terrebonne Parish man's homemade trap led to the arrest of his neighbor, police say. The incident happened on Bull Run Road in Schriever. The resident said that his shed had been burglarized while he
    A Terrebonne Parish man's homemade trap led to the arrest of his neighbor, police say.
  • Video: MMA fighter takes down would-be thieves

    Video: MMA fighter takes down would-be thieves

    Monday, July 28 2014 1:15 PM EDT2014-07-28 17:15:48 GMT

    Mayura Dissanayaka was behind the counter when he noticed his fellow employee return after a run to the bank. An SUV pulled in the parking lot and two men jumped out to grab the bank bag.

    Mayura Dissanayaka was behind the counter when he noticed his fellow employee return after a run to the bank. An SUV pulled in the parking lot and two men jumped out to grab the bank bag.

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Mayo Clinic researchers are taking a new electronic face around Northern Arizona University games this college football season. It's called the teleconcussion robot.

The partnership between Mayo Clinic and NAU is to test the feasibility of using a telemedicine robot to assess athletes with suspected concussions during football games, according to a press release.

With sophisticated robotic technology, use of a specialized remote controlled camera system allows patients to be "seen" by the neurology specialist miles away in real time. During the study, the robot is equipped with a specialized camera system remotely operated by a Mayo Clinic neurologist in Phoenix who has the ability to assess a player for symptoms and signs of a concussion and to consult with sideline medical personnel.

The first time the robot was used was during the University of Arizona versus NAU game on Friday, Aug. 30.

"Athletes at professional and collegiate levels have lobbied for access to neurological expertise on the sideline. As we seek new and innovative ways to provide the highest level of concussion care and expertise, we hope that teleconcussion can meet this need and give athletes at all levels immediate access to concussion experts," Bert Vargas, M.D., a neurologist at Mayo Clinic who is heading up the research, said.

This study would be the first to explore whether a remote neurological assessment is as accurate as a face-to-face evaluation in identifying concussion symptoms and making return to play decisions. Mayo Clinic physicians will not provide medical consultations during the study, they will only assess the feasibility of using the technology. If it appears feasible, this may open the door for countless schools, athletic teams and organizations without access to specialized care to use similar portable technology for sideline assessments.

"As nearly 60 percent of U.S. high schools do not have access to an athletic trainer, youth athletes, who are more susceptible to concussion and its after-effects, have the fewest safeguards in place to identify possible concussion signs and symptoms at the time of injury, Dr. Vargas said. "Teleconcussion is one way to bridge this gap regardless of when or where they may be playing."

Vice president for Intercollegiate Athletics at NAU agrees. "At NAU, our primary goal is to provide an outstanding student-athlete experience culminating in graduation," she said."We charge our staff to research the most current and best practices to ensure the safety and care of our students. Partnering with the Mayo Clinic in its telemedicine study will further this research and potentially improve diagnosis for rural areas that may not have access to team doctors or neurologists. The study allows the NAU Sports Medicine Staff and team doctors to continue to make all diagnoses and return to play decisions for our students, while investigating the effectiveness and efficiencies of telemedicine. We are excited to have the teleconcussion robot on our sideline this fall." 

Mayo Clinic in Arizona first used telemedicine technology with the telestroke program in 2007, when statistics revealed that 40 percent of residents in Arizona did not live in an area where they were availed of stroke expertise. Mayo Clinic was the first medical center in Arizona to do pioneering clinical research to study telemedicine as a means of serving patients with stroke in non-urban settings, and today serves as the "hub" in a network of 12 "spoke" centers, all but one in Arizona.

Since the telestroke program began nearly 3,000 emergency consultations for neurological emergencies like stroke between Mayo neurologists and physicians at the spoke centers have taken place.In 2011, Mayo Clinic expanded its telemedicine evaluations to include concussion evaluations. Concussion experts at the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Concussion Program in Arizona coined the term "teleconcussion" and described the concept as an effective means to assess concussed patients in a case study published in the December 2012 issue of Telemedicine and e-Health.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow