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Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center releases new concussion screening tool

Military health care providers practice administering the MACE 2 during a two-day TBI workshop led by DVBIC at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. (Photo by Carlson Gray) Military health care providers practice administering the MACE 2 during a two-day TBI workshop led by DVBIC at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. (Photo by Carlson Gray)

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Providers who screen patients for concussion now have a new and improved tool. The latest version of the Military Acute Concussion Evaluation, known as the MACE 2, is now available. The MACE 2 is for use by all medically trained personnel who treat service members with suspected traumatic brain injury (TBI). This includes medics, corpsmen, and other health care providers.

The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center, the Defense Health Agency’s Research and Development Directorate’s traumatic brain injury center of excellence, developed the MACE 2 from the 2012 version of MACE. The MACE 2 combines state-of-the-science advances in concussion care and feedback from military end users. The result is a more thorough tool to evaluate and document concussions in service members and veterans.

“DVBIC developed the original MACE primarily for medics and corpsmen, who are most often the initial medical contact treating service members in the field,” said Dr. Katherine Stout, DVBIC chief of clinical affairs. “MACE 2 represents a tool for any provider treating service members with a suspected or potential TBI as close to the time of injury as possible.”

In addition to broadening the base of users, the MACE 2 includes other important updates. The most significant is the addition of the Vestibular Ocular Motor Screening (VOMS). The VOMS helps providers assess vestibular and oculomotor functions in patients with suspected concussion. Additionally, DVBIC expanded portions of the MACE 2 neurological exam to increase clarity and comprehensiveness, including speech and balance testing. The MACE 2 also includes new instructions, “Red Flags,” observable signs and symptoms, and updated questions on the patient’s injury and medical history.

DVBIC has developed training tools to support providers’ transition to MACE 2 from earlier tools. “To ensure providers are up to date on the changes in the MACE 2 it is recommended that all medics, corpsmen, and health care providers should receive MACE 2 training,” said Stout. As with the 2012 MACE, the MACE 2 remains a free concussion-screening tool intended for use by military, veteran, and civilian medical personnel and is available for order in hard copy or digital download on the DVBIC website.

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