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How pre-screening can help youth athletes with concussions

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Central Virginia’s largest and oldest youth football league is working to educate parents and coaches on the prevention, diagnosis and quick treatment of concussions, one of the biggest concerns for football organizations across the country.

Through a partnership with Sheltering Arms Physical Rehabilitation Centers, The Chesterfield Quarterback League is allowing therapists to conduct baseline testing for all CQL players who wish to participate.

Basic baseline testing assesses a young athlete’s brain functioning and normal levels of balance prior to an injury.  It provides information that can be compared with results of similar assessments in the event of a suspected concussion during the season.

While the initial testing is performed by a therapist, follow-up testing can be performed by anyone with knowledge of the athlete’s test results.

Basic baseline testing

Basic baseline testing assesses a young athlete’s brain functioning and normal levels of balance prior to an injury.

"The nice thing about this test, in particular, is that it doesn’t have to be a health care professional that does the test," Sheltering Arms therapist Cristin Beazley said. "It can be a coach or a parent or anyone on the sidelines."

The costs to CQL parents is just $20 for basic sideline testing. More comprehensive testing can be conducted for $40 at Sheltering Arm’s Hanover and Bon Air locations.

CQL Commissioner Tom Gallagher said several parents and coaches in the league have voiced concern over the years about best practices when it comes to quickly diagnosing and treating a concussion.

Gallagher said the organization is receiving positive feedback about the partnership.

"Years ago when we coached, it was 'Hey get up- you’re fine- get back out there!'" Gallagher said. "Now there’s so much out there about concussions and so much awareness."

Concussion Test

“The nice thing about this test, in particular, is that it doesn’t have to be a health care professional that does the test,” said therapist Cristin Beazley with Sheltering Arms.

Sheltering Arms said baseline testing is still available upon request and is not limited to football leagues.

Beazley said soccer, lacrosse, baseball and other sports teams have also participated in baseline testing.   However, CQL is the largest organization to participate through a partnership, which reduces the cost to families.

CQL parent Jen Singleton, who has 11-year-old twin boys who currently play for the league, said the partnership has given her comfort.

"Out of my four boys, we’ve had two concussions that I can think of on the field," Singleton said. "There’s a lot of peace of mind to know…how significant any injury might be and how long it might take to recover."

For more information contact Sheltering Arms at 1-877-56-REHAB.

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