Sept. 9, 2015

Calgary's first sport concussion clinic to open at university

New public clinic at Sport Medicine Centre will provide medical care to community and campus athletes

Author

Drew Scherban

Dr. Katie MacGregor is a physician who has been actively involved in the launch of the Acute Sports Concussion Clinic. Calgary's first sport concussion clinic is set to open Sept. 22 at the University of Calgary's Sport Medicine Centre.

Dr. Katie MacGregor is a physician who has been actively involved in the launch of the clinic.

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

The University of Calgary Sport Medicine Centre will soon be home to Calgary’s first sport concussion clinic. Open to the public, the Acute Sports Concussion Clinic will provide care to anyone who may have suffered a concussion while participating in an athletic activity.

According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, sports and recreational activities were the third leading cause of traumatic brain injury admissions in Canadian hospitals in 2003 and 2004.

The clinic will include researchers and non-physician experts in the field of concussion as well as sports medicine physicians.

Dr. Katie MacGregor is a physician who has been heavily involved in the launch of the new clinic. She recently completed her sports medicine fellowship at the University of Calgary and sees the launch of the clinic as an opportunity to provide knowledge, awareness and medical care to athletes in the community as well as on campus.

“As the start of many competitive sport seasons approach, we are anticipating a rise in the number of concussions we see here in Calgary, as has been the case in years past," says MacGregor.

New patients intake facilitated through online self-referral system 

Modeled after the University of Calgary Sport Medicine Centre’s Acute Knee Injury Clinic, the new concussion clinic will be based on self-referrals and will not require a doctor’s referral. New patients will be prompted to fill out a concussion screening tool through an online system, which will be automatically sent to sports medicine physicians at the clinic for review.

“By streamlining the process and a having a specialty clinic, we are able to see more patients and expedite care,” says MacGregor. “We will be using best practices and guidelines in this centralized clinic with an aim to treat concussions promptly and provide the patient with proper care.”

While there are a lot of unknowns when it comes to traumatic brain injuries, one thing that research has shown is that early intervention will help mitigate long-term effects.

“We’re trying to see patients under four weeks from time of injury to time seen. The goal is to see patients within one week from time of injury,” says MacGregor.

Clinic to use the same screening protocols as professional sport leagues

Patients who receive care at the Acute Sports Concussion Clinic will be assessed using the same screening protocols that many professional sports leagues currently use. The Sport Concussion Assessment Tool 3, a standardized method of evaluating injured athletes for concussion, is currently being used by the National Hockey League, International Ice Hockey Federation as well as FIFA.

The Acute Concussion Clinic at the University of Calgary Sport Medicine Centre opens on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015. Initially, the clinic will only be open on Tuesday and Thursday during the week with the goal to expand hours as the demand increases.