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VA Introduces “Concussion Coach” App to Help Assess and Manage Symptoms

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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has developed a mobile application engineered to provide portable tools to help recognize the symptoms of mild to moderate concussion among veterans and others who have sustained injury, as well as provide coping strategies and treatment resources. A VA news release reports that the Concussion Coach app is intended to help educate users about concussions, related symptoms, treatments, and to enable them to recognize and assess symptoms.

The app is built to pinpoint resources for managing symptoms and planning tools to build resilience. The release notes that the app also offers access to crisis resources, such as personal support contacts and strategies through which users can obtain professional healthcare.

Micaela Cornis-Pop, speech pathologist and lead subject matter expert for the app, explains that in the app’s development, “we applied the science and the clinical recommendations that have emerged from the recent efforts of researchers and practitioners across many agencies, organizations, and institutions to better understand the nature and consequences of injury to the brain.”

Cornis-Pop adds that researchers hope to see Concussion Coach become a “trusted resource among self-help tools for veterans and others to manage the troubling symptoms of concussion.”

The app finds its roots in knowledge gained by VA medical staff in the treatment of TBI, according to the release.

The application’s development, says Carolyn M. Clancy, VA’s Interim Undersecretary for Health, demonstrates “how work conducted by VA also helps the general public. VA is taking innovative approaches and making use of technology to provide personalized health care for the nation’s veterans, and this app is an example of that.”

The release adds that while the app is designed to serve as a tool, it is not intended to replace professional diagnosis, medical treatment, or rehabilitation therapies for individuals who need them. Rather, Cornis-Pop points out, Concussion Coach will help support treatment with a healthcare professional by offering portable, convenient tools for the user to recognize symptoms and cope with concussion-related issues.

The app’s development, the release says, was a collaborative effort between the VA’s Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services and the National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the Department of Defense National Center for Telehealth and Technology.

The Concussion Coach app is available for mobile Apple devices that include the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, and will reportedly be available to Google Play for Android devices later in 2014.

[Source: VA]