(NEW YORK) — Drew Brees, the quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, has taken some pretty hard hits in his career and knows the dangers involved with playing football professionally.
That’s why he’s lent his name to the PACE program — Protecting Athletes through Concussion Education — to make the sport safer. The PACE campaign teams with ImPACT, a widely-used computerized concussion evaluation system. All the NFL teams and many NHL teams use this technology.
PACE is a program that provides free concussion testing for more than 3,300 middle and high schools and youth sports organizations nationwide. Their ultimate goal is to have one million kids tested this year, making it the largest concussion baseline program ever.
According to research published in May’s issue of the journal Neurology, a football player could sustain 8,000 hits over the course of a four-year high school and a four-year college career.
Baseline tests are important, doctors say, because they show what can’t be seen — cognitive function. Baseline testing, together with a preseason evaluation, help keep concussions to a minimum, and reduce their effects when they happen.
PACE is the first national program of its kind to offer the ImPACT baseline tests. The program was started by the Dick’s Sporting Goods Foundation.
Starting June 26, parents, athletes, coaches, teachers and anyone who wants to sign their school up can log onto dickssportinggoods.com/PACE to receive the free testing.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jen Christensen, CNN
Jackie Wattles, CNN
Virginia Anderson, Kaiser Health News
AJ Willingham, CNN