By Debbie Gregory.
On March 7, 2014, the VA announced the launch of a new tool designed to help Veterans identify Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). The tool comes in the form of a mobile phone application (APP) that has been dubbed the “Concussion Coach”. The Concussion Coach is the result of a collaborative effort by the VA’s Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Services, the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, and the Department of Defense National Center for Telehealth and Technology.
TBI can occur whenever a person’s head is hit or shaken to the point that it causes concussion or a closed head injury. Over the past thirteen years, TBI has become one the signature wounds related to the Global War on Terrorism. But TBI is not exclusive to members of the military. TBI, when untreated, is a major cause of death and disability worldwide, especially in children and young adults.
The App provides its users with the means to assess concussion and other TBI symptoms while in the field. Concussion Coach also provides its users with coping strategies to be used on someone with a suspected TBI, before proper medical treatment can be reached.
The VA’s Concussion Coach APP is free for anyone to download. Currently, it is only available on Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPad and the iPod touch. It is expected to be available on Google Play later this year.
Recently, Military Connection posted an article about the DOD’s mobile phone application for Veterans who suffer from depression or PTSD, called the Virtual Hope Box. It is great to see the VA and the DOD putting the time, energy and funding into making these resources available to service members, Veterans, and anyone else who could benefit from them.
Please remember that these tools are not intended to replace diagnosis or treatment for TBI, depression, or PTSD. These Apps are strictly to spread awareness, encourage afflicted people to seek treatment, and work in conjunction with any treatments prescribed by a doctor or therapist.