Since Arkansas ranks number one in the nation for stroke related death, Newport High School graciously allowed pre-game events to bring attention to prevention and treatment of stroke in rural Arkansas. Surviving a stroke is becoming more likely as more and more rural, community hospitals join the AR SAVES network telemedicine program with UAMS. The program uses a high-speed video communications system to help provide immediate, life-saving treatments to stroke patients 24 hours a day at Harris Hospital. Real-time video communication enables a stroke neurologist to evaluate stroke patients immediately.
The official game ball was delivered by helicopter to Harris Hospital CEO, Robert Rupp who then presented the ball to two Jackson County residents who are a living testament to the power of the AR SAVES stroke program. Lula Young and Michael Knight were rushed to Harris Hospital, who is partnered with AR SAVES and received successful treatment for stroke. Mrs. Lula Young states, “I initially resisted getting help when my symptoms began with my left hand suddenly not able to move. I thought it was just asleep and would go away. But we called 911 and the ambulance immediately took me to the hospital.” Young encourages everyone to pay attention and never ignore stroke symptoms that may include sudden numbness or weakness/paralysis on one side of the body, slurred speech, sudden confusion or vision disturbances. “I received life-saving treatment, and I want others to have that same opportunity,” says Young. Michael Knight was also honored at the pre-game events as a stroke survivor. “I was talking to my sister on the phone, and I dropped the phone. I picked it up and dropped it again and again. I wasn’t sure what was happening,” says Knight. When his sister noticed his slurred speech, she immediately called for help. Michael has made a full recovery except for relearning how to play his guitar, which is his final goal.
UAMS was set up at the admission gate and provided educational handouts and giveaways that highlight stroke symptoms to help education the community. White River EMS provided free t-shirts to the first 100 attendees. Rebecca Pearrow, Director of Marketing at Harris Hospital says, “Knowing the statistics that Arkansas is number one for stroke-related death, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds in the US and is the number one cause of disability in this country, Harris Hospital wants to help prevent and decrease these sad statistics through our partnership with UAMS ARsaves. Never ignore stroke warning signs and wherever you may be, get to the closest Emergency Department because there are several hospitals throughout the state that is part of the ARsaves system. This telemedicine program is saving lives and disability in Arkansas, including here in Jackson County. Don’t delay treatment. Time lost is brain lost.”