Telemedicine Robot to Roam the Football Sidelines This Fall


Read the full story by Dartmouth-Hitchcock Communications, published by Dartmouth Athletics.

He’s not very big, nor very fast. But Dartmouth football will have a new “player” on the sidelines this fall, and he may prove to be a big contributor to the team and to Dartmouth Athletics.


Image removed. This fall, a telemedicine robot will be on the sidelines for all of Dartmouth’s home football games. (Photo by Mark Washburn)



As part of a new partnership between Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s Center for Telehealth and Dartmouth’s Department of Athletics and Recreation, a telemedicine robot will be on the sidelines for all five Dartmouth home football games this fall. The robot is just one of the telemedicine technologies that will be supplied by the D-H Center for Telehealth for a remote concussion-assessment pilot program that kicked off at the first Big Green home football game on September 20.

This pilot is part of a far-reaching Dartmouth Athletics initiative in which the D-H Center for Telehealth will provide real-time, emergency clinical support via virtual technologies to a variety of Dartmouth sports, says Drew Galbraith, senior associate athletics director for Dartmouth Peak Performance.

Sarah Pletcher, director of the D-H Center for Telehealth, says Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center’s (DHMC) section of neurosurgery will be providing remote assessments of Dartmouth players with suspected concussions. “In addition to a telemedicine robot, we will also integrate tablet and smartphone solutions that will offer reliability and flexibility as we expand the program to other Dartmouth sports in the very near future,” says Pletcher, noting that physicians from the D-H emergency department will be participating in future clinical service offerings.

“Our goal at Dartmouth is to give our student-athletes the best medical care possible,” says Galbraith, who added that Dartmouth currently has two orthopedists, a general medicine doctor, and an ambulance present at all home football games. “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.”

“Dartmouth College is an early adopter of this telemedicine robot technology, which was validated by the Mayo Clinic and Northern Arizona University’s football program in 2013,” says Robert J. Singer, one of the DHMC neurosurgeons who will participate in the pilot program. “Our participation in the Big Ten-Ivy League collaboration studying the effects of head injuries in sports integrates nicely into this effort.”

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