LITTLE ROCK — To help Arkansans learn how to survive stroke, the Arkansas Travelers are making May 13 “Strike Out Stroke Night” in partnership with AR SAVES, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)-led statewide stroke program.
A helicopter will bring Nicolas Bianchi, M.D., AR SAVES medical director, to the field at North Little Rock’s Dickey-Stephens Park to deliver baseballs for the game’s first-pitch ceremony, all strikes against stroke.
Dustin Martinez, the 500th stroke patient to receive a blood-clot dissolving agent — tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA) — through the AR SAVES network, will throw the first strike. Other stroke survivors will be recognized on the field as well. Roxane Townsend, M.D., UAMS Medical Center CEO, also will throw out one of the first pitches.
Gates will open at 6 p.m. The game starts at 7:10 p.m. against the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.
Volunteers from AR SAVES (Arkansas Stroke Assistance through Virtual Emergency Support) sites around the state will work at stroke education booths, and brain-shaped stress toys will be thrown into the stands.
AR SAVES stroke survivors will be honored guests at the game. Their presence in a reserved seating section will serve as a reminder to others that getting to the hospital quickly can prevent stroke death and disability.
Arkansas ranks first in the nation in stroke death rates. Surviving a stroke is becoming more likely as more community hospitals join the SAVES network. The program uses a high-speed video communications system to help provide immediate, life-saving treatments to stroke patients 24 hours a day. The real-time video communication enables a stroke neurologist to evaluate whether emergency room physicians should use t-PA within the critical 3-hour period following the first signs of stroke.
“This is an important part of UAMS’ mission — reaching out to other areas of the state and helping local physicians identify patients with stroke and improve the patients’ outcomes,” said Michael Manley, director of AR SAVES.
The AR SAVES program is a partnership between the UAMS Center for Distance Health, the state Department of Human Services, Sparks Regional Health System in Fort Smith, and 42 Arkansas hospitals.
UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; northwest Arkansas regional campus; statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Myeloma Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and Translational Research Institute. It is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 2,834 students, 822 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses throughout the state, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit www.uams.edu or www.uamshealth.com. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.