Northwest Arkansas Naturals to Host ‘Strike Out Stroke Night’

By David Robinson

Stroke survivors from the area will be recognized prior to the game, their presence serving as a reminder to others that getting to the hospital quickly can prevent stroke death and disability.

One of the survivors will deliver the ball for the ceremonial first pitch, which will be made by U.S. Rep. Steve Womack. Gates will open at 5 p.m. for the game versus the Corpus Christi Hooks.

Arkansas has the highest stroke death rate in the nation, but surviving a stroke is becoming more likely as more community hospitals are added to the AR SAVES (Arkansas Stroke Assistance through Virtual Emergency Support) program. The program uses two-way video to enable stroke neurologists to diagnose the stroke and recommend the use of a powerful clot-dissolving drug, tissue plasminogen activator (t-PA).

The two-way interactive video units are now in 34 community hospital emergency rooms.

“We’re very excited that hospitals around the state are embracing the AR SAVES program, but public awareness is equally important to saving people from strokes,” said Julie Hall-Barrow, Ed.D., director of AR SAVES. “If people don’t know the symptoms of stroke and don’t get to an emergency room as soon as possible, then the AR SAVES infrastructure can’t be used to its fullest potential.”

After the onset of stroke symptoms, patients are eligible for only 4.5 hours to receive the t-PA.

Through its health education program, AR SAVES urges Arkansans to act FAST and call 9-1-1 because the longer a stroke goes untreated, the more brain damage it will cause. The FAST acronym is for Face (Does one side droop?); Arm (Does one arm drift downward when the person is asked to raise both arms?); Speech (Are words slurred?); Time (if the person shows any of the symptoms, call 9-1-1 or get to a hospital.)

AR SAVES is directed by UAMS’ Center for Distance Health, and its partners include the Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Human Services and Sparks Regional Medical Center in Fort Smith.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Related Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a statewide network of regional centers; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, the Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, the Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy, the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, the Psychiatric Research Institute, the Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging and the Translational Research Institute. Named best Little Rock metropolitan area hospital by U.S. News & World Report, it is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has more than 2,800 students and 775 medical residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including about 1,000 physicians and other professionals who provide care to patients at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Medical Center and UAMS’ Area Health Education Centers throughout the state. Visit or