Teleconcussion Assessments Feasible for Football Players

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A remote neurologist assessing football players using a telemedicine robot is feasible for sideline concussion assessments.
A remote neurologist assessing football players using a telemedicine robot is feasible for sideline concussion assessments.

HealthDay News — Teleconcussion assessment with a remote neurologist assessing football players using a telemedicine robot is feasible for sideline concussion assessments, with high levels of agreement with face-to-face providers, according to a study published online March 24 in Neurology.

Bert B. Vargas, MD, from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and colleagues assessed a cohort of 11 consecutive male collegiate football players with suspected concussion using Standardized Assessment of Concussion (SAC), King-Devick test (K-D), and modified Balance Error Scoring System (mBESS). Each athlete was assessed by a remote neurologist using a telemedicine robot with real-time 2-way audiovisual capabilities and by a sideline provider who performed a simultaneous face-to-face assessment. A remove-from-play (RFP) determination was made after the assessment. SAC and mBESS scores were obtained for 6 of the 11 athletes.

The researchers found that in all 6 cases assessed, the teleconcussion and face-to-face SAC were in agreement. There was a mean difference of 0.7 seconds between remote and sideline K-D times. In all 11 cases, remote and sideline K-D were within a 3-second difference. In all 6 cases assessed, remote and sideline mBESS scores were within 3 points. In all 11 cases, RFP decisions were in agreement.

"These data suggest a high level of agreement between remote and face-to-face providers with regard to examination findings and RFP determinations," the authors wrote.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Reference

Vargas BB, Shepard M, Hentz JG, Kutyreff C, Hershey G, Starling AJ. Feasibility and accuracy of teleconcussion for acute evaluation of suspected concussion. Neurology. 2017;88(16):1580-1583. doi:10.1212/WNL.0000000000003841

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