American Legion BANNER MAY17 V4

Paige HavensMobile Concussion Care is Coming
By Paige Havens
The Concussion Discussion 

There is an exciting new project on the horizon that is going to take concussion care in our community to a whole new level. Gwinnett Medical Center has retired the mobile mammography care-a-van.

When it was brought online years ago, early detection via mammography was a new concept. Limited testing sites were available, so it was necessary to take the care on the road. Today, mammography has become a very well accepted breast cancer prevention practice and women now have many access points to mammography services, hence this mobile unit is no longer in high demand. Rather than let this great asset sit unused, a new opportunity presents itself to repurpose the care-a-van to meet a new healthcare need in our community – Concussion Education, Diagnosis & Treatment.

 

There is a dire need for us to educate athletes, parents, coaches, educators, employers and other community stakeholders about concussions - the signs and symptoms, prevention measures, when and where to seek treatment when an injury occurs, and how to safely return to learn/play/work after injury. We need to capture more neurocognitive baseline tests on people of all ages across our community, so that in the event they do incur a head injury, doctors will have a snapshot of their “normal” brain activity to help better gauge the extent of injury and craft a more effective treatment plan. We also need to get more athletic trainers out on the sidelines of our youth sports/recreational programs, to provide more immediate diagnosis and treatment of concussions.

The vision is to repurpose the Care-A-Van into a mobile concussion baseline testing and treatment center that will allow us to expand concussion care across our community. The new Concussion Care-A-Van will house 10-12 concussion baseline testing stations and an examination/treatment room staffed by a licensed athletic trainer.

The Concussion Care-A-Van’s primary mission will be to provide education, prevention, proper diagnosis, and treatment. By providing quality education, this program will work to improve prevention measures. In the event a concussion does occur, the Care-A-Van can be onsite to offer a quick and accurate diagnosis and sound treatment plans that can reduce the long–term effects of concussion. As we reach more people, we can collect concussion research data that allows us to help advance the science, develop best practices and improve medical protocols.

The care-a-van will travel out to sports leagues, parks and recreation centers, athletic events, community fairs and expos, schools, daycare centers, summer camps, senior centers, churches, non-profit organizations, medical practices, corporate campuses and more. The Care-A-Van can also serve to promote wellness on many other fronts as well, offering other health and wellness education programs such as helmet/equipment fitting, physical therapy, sports performance training, workplace wellness, nutrition education, fall prevention programs, and more. And the reach can stretch well beyond the Gwinnett County line.

What’s even more exciting is that we believe this mobile concussion care unit will be the first of its kind. This is a unique opportunity for our community to help set a new bar in concussion care and hone a model for other communities around the world to follow.

If you would like to learn more about the Concussion Care-A-Van Project and how you can be a sponsor or partner of this great effort, email me at paigehavens@bellsouth.net. I’d love to tell you more! The goal is to have the care-a-van rolling in 2018.

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