This fall, Dartmouth Athletics introduced a new sideline “player” on their football field – a telehealth robot. As part of their new concussion-assessment initiative, the robot now serves as a communication platform between athletes and remote medical professionals at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Center for Telehealth. The main objective of this initiative is to minimize the number of undiagnosed concussions among Dartmouth’s athletes.
A similar program was developed during a partnership with the Mayo Clinic and Northern Arizona University in 2013. Since then, other universities, including Dartmouth, have started to partner with telehealth centers in order to provide better care to their student athletes. Drew Galbraith, Dartmouth’s senior associate athletics director, stressed the importance of providing athletes with immediate medical care:
“By partnering with the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Center for Telehealth we can tap into the latest technology and provide additional medical coverage by having a neurosurgeon on call should a player suffer a significant head injury or need a concussion screening.”
Concussions occur quite frequently, especially in high-impact sports like football. An additional device for detecting concussions was discussed in one of our previous posts. Dartmouth’s telemedicine robot delivers real-time clinical support for injured players within minutes of their injury. Hopefully, this pilot program will continue to expand and incentivize other athletic programs to implement telehealth strategies to treat and prevent injuries.