According to the American Heart Association 2011 update, stroke is the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of long-term disability. Familiarizing first-aid providers with a stroke assessment tool is part of the 2015 American Heart Association Guidelines update for CPR and ECC (emergency cardiac care). Decompression illness (DCI) is a much less common cause of neurological injury. The overall incidence of this diving-related injury is 2-4 cases per 10,000 dives.

Regardless of underlying cause, the presence of a neurological injury is frequently revealed by performance of a neurological assessment.

The Neurological Assessment course trains participants to perform a basic neurological examination as part of the initial medical evaluation.

There are two primary goals of this program:

  1. Provide first responders with the skills necessary to discover signs of acute neurological injury.
  2. Minimize treatment delays through rapid activation of emergency medical services (EMS).

Successful completion of the Neurological Assessment course includes demonstrating skill competency and passing a final knowledge assessment. Upon completion, you will receive a provider card indicating that you have been trained in basic neurological assessment techniques.

First Responder Roles and Responsibilities

First aid is the provision of initial care for an injury or illness. The three key aims of first aid are to (1) preserve life, (2) prevent the condition from worsening and (3) promote recovery. All skills performed in an emergency should be within the scope of one’s training. Maintain skills and knowledge proficiency by participating in supervised practice sessions and reading current literature.


There are no prerequisites for this program.


Emergency-response skills deteriorate with time. Retraining is required every two years to maintain Neurological Assessment Provider certification. Your instructor can provide information about retraining programs. In addition, regular practice is encouraged, when possible, to retain skill proficiency.

Continuing Education

Additional training courses are appropriate for continuing education. Other first-aid programs offered include Basic Life Support: CPR and First Aid, Emergency Oxygen for Scuba Diving Injuries and First Aid for Hazardous Marine Life Injuries. Additional courses include CPR Health-Care Provider with First Aid and Diving First Aid for Professional Divers.

While certification in these programs is not required for participation in the Neurological Assessment course, it is strongly recommended that you obtain training in these essential lifesaving skills.

How To Use The Course Material

Each section in this course contains three distinct features:

  1. The beginning of each chapter has a list of learning objectives. This is the information you should look for as you read the material, watch the videos and participate in class discussions.
  2. Boxes with the word “NOTE” provide explanations that are important for understanding the material just presented.
  3. Boxes labeled “Advanced Concepts” contain additional information beyond what is required for this course. It is enrichment for those students who want to know more.

This module may include video content that will have sound. Please adjust your audio accordingly.


  1. Roger V., Go AS, Lloyd-Jones DM, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics — 2011 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation 2011 Feb; 123(4):e18-e209.
  2. Neumar RW, Shuster M, Callaway CW, et al. 2015 American Heart Association Guidelines Update for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Circulation 2015 Nov; 132(18), suppl 2.
  3. National Stroke Association. Recognizing stroke. Available at:
  4. Vann RD, Butler FK, Mitchell SJ, Moon RE. Decompression illness. Lancet 2011 Jan; 377(9760):153–64.

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