Associate Professor of Neurology

Director, Sports Neurology and Concussion Program

UT Southwestern Medical Center

Dallas, Texas

@BertVargas

Despite the novelty and widespread interest in telemedicine, not every clinical scenario is ideal for incorporation into a telemedical platform.  Using stroke as the model of a successful integration of emergency care and telemedicine, my colleagues and I conceived the idea to use our existing telemedicine network to bring concussion care to rural Arizona.  We were the first to publish our experience in the literature and have been credited with the first ever use if the word "teleconcussion."  Since that time, we have enjoyed watching this concept develop and mature into a sustainable service line.

Incorporation into collegiate football

"Teleconcussion is an innovative way to help evaluate and manage concussion in populations without immediate access to specialty care..."

Teleconcussion

The history of teleconcussion

My colleagues and I were fortunate enough to partner with the medical staff of Northern Arizona University as we sought to research the feasibility, accuracy, and safety of performing remote telemedical assessments of possible concussion at the time of injury.  With the cooperation and support of NAU Football, we were able to provide pre-injury baseline neurologic assessments for their entire team and remote telemedical coverage for all home and away games.  Our experience yielded data suggesting that teleconcussion is an accurate and effective means of identifying individuals who should be removed form play for suspected concussion.  Furthermore, the clinical exam, including SCAT3 and King-Devick, showed a high degree of correlation between the remote and face-to-face providers.  These data have been presented as platforms at the 2015 American Academy of Neurology Sports Concussion Conference and the 2015 World Congress of Neurology.