Hitting the Road

September 19, 2017

A new sports medicine resource can be found on the roads in Georgia. The Gwinnett Medical Center’s (GMC) Sports Medicine and Concussion Care-A-Van will now provide a full-service athletic training room on wheels.

“When we travel around and talk to different directors, most athletic directors and coaches don’t have access to injury prevention,” Kristin Crea, ATC, LAT, ITAT, Director of the Sports Medicine Program and Concussion Institute at GMC-Duluth, told the Gwinnett (Ga.) Daily Post. “This really allows us to reach and have better access to these places that don’t have this kind of care.” 

Informing people about concussions will be one of the missions for the Care-A-Van, especially in rural areas that may not receive a lot of information about sports injuries.

“I would love to be able to see this thing sitting in front of the mall on the weekends,” Saadiq El-Amid, MD, PhD, Director of the GMC Sports Medicine Concussion Institute. “It’s not only to teach those around, but also to let them have a name and an institution to get in touch with if they think they have a concussion.”

The Care-A-Van is equipped to administer baseline ImPACT tests. Because of this, the Care-A-Van will also be able to help residents if they sustain a concussion in the future.

“Let’s say we administer a baseline test to a kid in rural south Georgia. Then, the kid goes off to Alabama and sustains a concussion,” said Dr. El-Amid. “Then, when they want to ImPACT test him, he’ll be able to tell doctors, ‘Hey, my family got [ImPACT] tested by this mobile center a few years ago.’”

Having student-athletes or other individuals ignoring a possible concussion is still an issue. The hope for the mobile unit is to keep that from happening.

“I can’t tell you how many people ignore concussions,” said Dr. El-Amid. “If you ignore a concussion and continue to play a sport, you could hit your head again. That could lead to other issues.”

By bringing concussion care and other sports medicine education to communities, Dr. El-Amid and Crea will help fill the gaps for those who can’t make it to the clinic.

“The beauty of the Care-A-Van is it’s mobile,” said Crea. “So we can go wherever we need—to different sports facilities, high schools, day cares, corporations, programs, schools, and churches. We can go wherever we see fit.”

Currently, the plan is to take the Care-A-Van throughout Georgia to reach as many residents as possible. In the future, Dr. El-Amid hopes that other hospitals in the area will implement similar services.

“We’re in a position right now to really, really make a difference,” he said. 

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