Boone NC

Safety First with Winter Sports

skiier We are lucky to live in an area that is the perfect setting for enjoying winter sports. Not only are there great ski slopes and tubing opportunities around, at Appalachian Ski Mountain, Beech Mountain, Hawksnest and Sugar Mountain ski resorts, but there are also plenty of days perfect for sledding, hiking through the snowy woods and even cross-country skiing.

Staying active, especially in the fresh air and sunshine of the outdoors, is a great way to stay healthy and improve your mood. Winter sports are fun, but like any activity, accidents can happen at any time. There’s a reason why January is designated as Winter Sports Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month by the Johnny O. Foundation. Skiing and sledding at high speeds can lead to dangerous falls. It’s better to be safe than sorry! Here are a few tips to help keep you safe while you’re out enjoying the beauty our winter has to offer.Sledding

  •  Dress in layers. A moisture wicking material against your skin will help keep you dry, while you want to have wind and water-resistant coats or jackets for your outer layer.
  • Wear sunscreen. It’s not only in the summer that you can get a sunburn, those rays are bright when reflected off the white snow!
  • Wear a helmet. Some ski resorts have made it a rule, but it’s a good precaution whether you’re skiing, snowboarding or even sledding.
  • Skate only on approved ice.
  • When sledding, make sure you’re sledding on packed snow, not ice. And only use sleds that were meant to be sleds, no garbage pail lids!
  • In addition to a helmet, make sure you have the right equipment for your sport, and that it fits properly.
  • Always go with a buddy. That way if something does happen, you have someone who can go for help.

The Rehabilitation Center, with locations in Boone and Linville, have specially trained physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech language pathologists that can evaluate and treat injuries resulting from winter sports including concussions, sprains, strains, poor balance and coordination, fractures, speech impairments, memory loss and other problems.  For more information, call (828) 268-9043 or (828) 737-7530 or visit

Healthcare System Requests Voluntary Visitation Restrictions

December 29, 2014 – Appalachian Regional Healthcare System asks that anyone sick with the flu or flu-like symptoms voluntarily refrain from visiting hospitalized family and friends, as well as those persons at the hospital for an outpatient procedure. It is also important that during this time of increased flu and flu-like illness in our area, visitors 12 and under should refrain from visiting hospitalized family and friends.

Taking temperatureAccording to the Centers for Disease Control, flu activity is on the rise in the U.S. with all 50 states reporting sporadic to widespread illness. North Carolina is reporting widespread illness.

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System’s hospital emergency rooms, along with the physician offices and AppUrgent Care, have seen an increase in the number of people presenting with influenza-like illness.

“Patients are very vulnerable while in the hospital, so we are appealing to those community members who may be ill with the flu, or exposed to the flu, to refrain from visiting hospitalized family and friends in order to help us protect the patients in our facilities,” stated Dr. Herman Godwin, Chief Medical Officer for Appalachian Regional Healthcare System. “Our top priority is to take every appropriate precaution to keep our patients safe.”

Flu viruses spread mainly from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes an individual may catch flu by touching an object infected with the virus and then touching the eyes, mouth, or nose. There are several things you can do to prevent catching or spreading the flu: Protect yourself, your family and your community

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, not into your hands.
  • If you get sick with flu, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from making them sick.
  • Get the recommended seasonal flu vaccine.


  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Most people recover from flu after about a week without lasting effects.

Seek emergency medical care if you or a family member has any of these symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms that improve, but then return with fever and worsening cough
  • In babies, bluish or gray skin color, lack of responsiveness or extreme irritation

Appalachian Regional Healthcare System is working diligently to prevent the spread of flu and appreciates any assistance the public can provide. For more information about the flu, visit or


AppUrgent Care Center Receives Certified Urgent Care Designation from the Urgent Care Association of America

AppUrgent Care Center

AppUrgent Care Center

AppUrgent Care Center has received the Certified Urgent Care – Category I designation, which distinguishes it as a true urgent care center staffed by board certified licensed physicians. The clinic provides patients with walk-in, extended-hour medical attention with licensed providers for a large scope of medical conditions and has met all of the Urgent Care Association of America’s established criteria.

“With the ever changing healthcare environment, it is extremely important for patients to understand their treatment options,” said LaRaye Rudicile, RN, Operations Manager for AppUrgent Care. “Urgent care is a convenient and viable option for medical conditions that cannot wait for a scheduled appointment with a primary care physician.

CUC logoAppUrgent Care Center, part of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System, provides convenient, walk-in care to patients with non-life threatening illness or injury such as sore throats, strains, sprains, fever, flu, cuts and other conditions that do not require a visit to the emergency room. Staffed by board certified physicians, AppUrgent Care fills the gap between primary care and emergency room care, offering increased convenience and cost savings. The facility also offers visitors the opportunity to seek care while remaining close to their leisure activities.

With its certification, AppUrgent Care Center and the Urgent Care Association of America demonstrate their commitment toward providing patients with access to appropriate levels of care.

Dr. Amor and Dr. Stafford

Dr. Amor and Dr. Stafford

AppUrgent Care, located at 2146 Blowing Rock Road in Boone, NC, is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 7 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 5 pm.

For more information, visit or call (828) 265-5505.

Surgery Brings NFL Brothers Closer Together

When it comes to relationships, few are stronger than those established by blood and rooted in football. For California natives, Kaelin, 25, and older brother Kevin Burnett, 31, making it into the NFL was a goal they both worked toward since childhood. So, ending up on the same NFL team, the Oakland Raiders, in 2013 was a dream come true.

The dream was threatened, however, after Kaelin, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound linebacker tore his meniscus during a 2014 preseason practice. Disappointed and eager to return to the field he asked his older brother, a 10-year NFL veteran, for advice.

“Kevin recommended that I ask Orthopaedic Surgeon, Dr. Evan Ekman to take a look at my knee. I learned that Dr. Ekman had preformed several surgeries on my brother over the last decade which has allowed him to continue to play on Sundays,” said Kaelin. “So, with my agent’s blessing, I decided to travel across the country (Oakland, Calif. to Boone, N.C.) to have this highly recommended surgeon take care of my injury.”

Kevin Burnett, Kaelin Burnett and Dr. Evan Ekman

Kevin Burnett, Kaelin Burnett and Dr. Evan Ekman

Dr. Evan Ekman is the Medical Director of Appalachian Regional Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center (AppOrtho), in Boone, N.C. The practice is an extension of Appalachian Regional Healthcare System (ARHS), which proudly serves patients in Western, N.C. and Eastern, Tenn. AppOrtho is also the official sports medicine provider for Appalachian State University Athletics.

After flying into Charlotte, with Kevin at his side for support, the brothers enjoyed their scenic medically inspired commute to the Blue Ridge Mountains of N.C. Upon reviewing Kaelin’s MRI, Dr. Ekman explained that he could repair the torn meniscus by performing a Knee Arthroscopy with a Partial Lateral Meniscectomy. This minimally invasive procedure would allow Kaelin to return with full functionality to the gridiron this season. The surgery was scheduled two days later and conducted in one of Watauga Medical Center’s newly renovated and state-of-the-art operating rooms.

Dr. Ekman began the procedure by placing an arthroscope inside one of two tiny pinhole incisions made in the knee. The camera projected high definition footage from inside the knee onto three large screen monitors suspended around the operating table. With clear visibility, he was able to use the other pinhole to insert a trimmer and correct the torn meniscus without complication.

At the conclusion of the twenty minute outpatient procedure, Kaelin was pleasantly surprised to discover that he was able to maneuver, pain free, within the hour. He is scheduled to participate in a short-term rehabilitation program and be NFL ready in a matter of days.

“As always, my big brother laid the blueprint and I’m glad I followed his recommendation,” said Kaelin with a grin.

“Surgery, like every other big decision in a person’s life, is only agreed to when the patient feels a great deal of trust has been established.” said Dr. Ekman. “It is always rewarding to be able to provide care, based on that trust, for multiple members of one family.”

For more information about the Appalachian Regional Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Center, call 828-386-BONE or visit


July is National Blueberry Month, and we think that is definitely something worth celebrating! Whether you like your blueberries in muffins, pies, or fruit salads, or you just pop them in your mouth for a fast and easy snack, no matter how you eat them there’s no denying this little berry is a super food.blueberries

According to, just one cup of blueberries will give you:

  • 14% of the recommended daily dose of fiber
  • 25% of the recommended daily dose of Vitamin C

Blueberries are also packed with antioxidants, those compounds that help boost your immune system, and they contain anthocyanins, which have been shown to improve cardiovascular health and might even attack cancer-causing free radicals. You get all of this for less than 100 calories!

Of course, you can get blueberries year round at the supermarket. But now is the perfect time to find fresh, North Carolina-grown blueberries practically in your own backyard. Visit the Avery County Farmers Market, Watauga County Farmers Market or Blowing Rock Farmers Market to find fresh-picked berries from local farms, and mix them up with blackberries and raspberries. Or make an adventure out of it and go pick your own! You can find farms across the state on the Pick Your Own website. Be sure to call before you go to confirm blueberries are available for picking.

Once you’ve got your blueberries, it’s time to start eating! Here are a few ways to incorporate them into your daily diet:

  • Sprinkle blueberries on cereal, yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast
  • Add them to your favorite smoothie recipe
  • Mix blueberries into any fruit salad or green salad
  • Make a patriotic dessert with strawberries, blueberries and Cool Whip topping on a low-fat pound cake

Find more recipes from the North Carolina Blueberry Council.

Make the most of National Blueberry Month, and incorporate these and other healthy habits into your diet for better health!