Dr. Anthony Martinois the Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at the University of South Alabama (USA) College of Medicine. Dr. Martino has practiced neurosurgery for 25 years specializing in pediatric neurosurgery. Throughout his career, Dr. Martino has been actively involved in championing head injury prevention programs. These efforts include initiating the south Alabama regional ThinkFirst program for which Dr. Martino is currently the physician sponsor. In concert with ThinkFirst, the USA Department of Neurosurgery has an active concussion management program which evaluates concussed athletes, including those from the USA sports programs (NCAA Division I), from time of impact through recovery.
Ashley Marassis a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner and an Assistant Professor at the USA College of Nursing. Dr. Marass created the computer-based “Concussion Awareness Program” (CAP) while completing the Doctor of Nursing Practice program (with honors) at Samford University. Dr. Marass’ special interests include concussion education, neurosurgical nursing, adolescent medicine, and pediatric HIV. Dr. Marass’ experience as a nurse in the public school system has afforded her invaluable insights that aided in the development of the format and content, and, implementation of the CAP.
Mary Wilstrupis a master’s prepared registered nurse and board certified clinical nurse specialist with the primary focus of pediatric critical care nursing. Ms. Wilstrup has worked for 15 years in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at USA Children’s & Women’s Hospital. Since 2005, Ms. Wilstrup has worked as a clinical coordinator of the “Cares for Kids” critical care transport team that specialized in the care of pediatric burn and trauma patients. Ms. Wilstrup is the chapter director of ThinkFirst Mobile, a division of the national ThinkFirst.
Our approach, using the enhanced CAP, addresses the adequacy of the standard teaching formats. Using the novel, web-based module, we will provide educational material to the athletes via an engaging, interactive platform. The CAP web tool will allow us to assess an athlete’s knowledge and ability to recognize concussion symptoms and to determine the impact of the educational format, content and presentation. With this approach we will empower athletes directly with the knowledge and awareness to reduce the barriers to identify and seek treatment for concussive injuries. Education may not prevent concussions from occurring, but it will improve concussion awareness and the recognition that immediate treatment and standardized follow-up protocols will improve the outcomes of student athletes that suffer concussions. The CAP is a novel, impactful tool that will be utilized to shape a culture of concussion education and awareness in the south Alabama region and beyond.