To better meet the needs of Veterans and others who have suffered mild to moderate concussion associated with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has developed "Concussion Coach," a mobile application (“app”) that provides portable tools to recognize symptoms and to identify and make use of coping strategies.

The Concussion Coach app is designed to educate users about concussions, related symptoms, treatments and to enable users to recognize and assess symptoms. The app identifies resources for managing symptoms and planning tools to build resilience. It also provides access to crisis resources, including personal support contacts and ways in which the user can obtain professional health care.

“In developing the Concussion Coach, 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,” said Dr. Micaela Cornis-Pop, Speech Pathologist and lead subject matter expert for the application. “We are looking forward to the Concussion Coach becoming a trusted resource among self-help tools for Veterans and others to manage the troubling symptoms of concussion.”

The application will be helpful to everyone who suffers from mild to moderate concussions.  Its development came about as a result of knowledge gained by VA medical staff in treatment of TBI. While combat injuries to Servicemembers and injuries to professional athletes gain media attention, TBI is most often caused by falls, vehicle accidents and violence. TBI is a major cause of death and disability worldwide, especially in children and young adults.

“The development of the Concussion Coach application shows how work conducted by VA also helps the general public,” said Dr. Carolyn M. Clancy, VA’s Interim Undersecretary for Health. “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 application is a useful tool, and is not intended to replace professional diagnosis, medical treatment or rehabilitation therapies for those who need them.

“We believe that Concussion Coach will support treatment with a health care professional by providing portable, convenient tools for the user to recognize symptoms and cope with concussion-related problems,” added Dr. Cornis-Pop.

Concussion Coach was collaboratively developed by the VA’s Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services and the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and the Department of Defense National Center for Telehealth and Technology.

Concussion Coach is available for mobile Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, and IPod Touch) from the App Store and will be available to Google Play for Android devices later in 2014.

For additional information, visit www.polytrauma.va.gov.

by the Department of Veterans Affairs