Identifying and Assessing Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: Guidelines for EMS and Health Care Providers

Originally presented on December 17, 2015

Lee Burns
Director, Bureau of Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Systems, New York State Department of Health 

Hamish Kerr, M.D.
Director, Albany Medical Center Sports Concussion Clinic and Team Physician, Siena College

New York State (NYS) has a high prevalence of traumatic brain injury (TBI), with hospitals reporting an average of over 400 TBI incidents each day. While incidence is high, the literature estimates that as much as 50% of brain injuries are unreported.(1)   Emergency Medical Services personnel are on the front lines of encountering persons who have sustained brain injuries and need the skills to recognize symptoms of mild brain injury and how to respond.

The target audience for this program includes community and health professionals that are likely to respond when there is a head injury, such as EMTs, physicians, nurses and school-based medical professionals, as well as personnel in trauma and urgent care centers and other health care facilities. The program will present information on the incidence of mild traumatic brain injury, the populations most impacted by such injuries and the signs/symptoms of mild TBI. Viewers will learn about a pre-hospital assessment that can be used to determine the presence of a possible TBI and how to respond to these cases.

(1) American Association of Neurological Surgeons, August 2014; Marar M, McIlvain NM, Fields SK, Comstock RD. Epidemiology of Concussions Among United States High School Athletes in 20 Sports.  Am J Sports Med 2012;40(4):747-755.

Learning Objectives
After watching this webcast participants will be able to:

  • Describe the impact of brain injuries in New York State, including populations most affected
  • Name at least three symptoms of mild TBI that can be determined through assessment steps in prehospital settings
  • List the four steps of the pre-hospital assessment to determine the presence of a mild brain injury 

NOTE: The New York State Department of Health will provide NYS EMS CME credit hours for EMS providers under core for trauma. After participating in the program, EMS professionals seeking credit will need to complete the evaluation and post-test at and request and print the certificate for General Continuing Education Credits (see below). Certificates can then be submitted to the NYS Department of Health.   

The planners, moderator, and presenters do not have any financial arrangements or affiliations with any commercial entities whose products, research or services may be discussed in this activity.

No commercial funding has been accepted for this activity.

Continuing Medical Education Credits

The School of Public Health, University at Albany is accredited by the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The School of Public Health, University at Albany designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

Continuing Medical Education Credits are offered until December 31, 2018.

Continuing Nurse Education Contact Hours

The University at Albany School of Public Health is an Approved Provider of continuing nurse education by the Northeast Multi-State Division, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

This offering is approved for 1 nursing contact hour(s).

Nursing Contact Hours are offered until December 31, 2018.

Certified Health Education Specialist Contact Hours

Sponsored by the School of Public Health, University and Albany, SUNY, a designated provider of continuing education contact hours (CECH) in health education by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. This program is designated for Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) and/or Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES) to receive up to 1.0 total Category I contact education contact hours. Maximum advanced-level continuing education contact hours available are 0.

Continuing Education Contact Hours are offered until December 31, 2018. 

General Continuing Education Credits
This offering is approved for one (1) general continuing education credit, for the purpose of documenting attendance at a designated seminar or course of instruction.  To claim general continuing education credits, learners must complete the online evaluation and pass the post-test.   

General Continuing Education Credits will be available until December 31, 2018.