Grant Application

Patrick Huber, MBA, PMP, ATC, ofUPMC Sports Medicine


Proposed Innovation

Young athletes who experience concussions that go untreated or undiagnosed are at risk for short- and long-term problems with cognitive ability, thinking, sensation, language, and emotions. Without proper care and return to health, children who experience repeated concussions could be at risk of severe injury to their still-developing brains.

Providing a computerized pre-concussion neurocognitive test to young athletes helps to establish baseline cognitive functioning. If the child later suffers a head injury, it can be compared to post-concussion testing to determine the athlete’s readiness to return to normal activities. Currently, very few young athletes are tested due to lack of an easily available test for the pediatric age group (12 and younger). Through this project, iPads will be used to establish the region’s first-ever mobile pediatric concussion testing program — taking pediatric baseline testing to communities throughout western Pennsylvania.


Improvements in Action

Through the Beckwith Institute grant, along with matching funds from UPMC Sports Medicine and the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation’s Heads Up Pittsburgh program, iPads will be adapted with an application to enable baseline-testing for young athletes ages 5 to 12. The application will be loaded onto 18 iPads to bring testing to youth and recreational organizations community-wide.


Results — In Progress

Mobile iPad testing will begin in Spring 2015. Approximately 500 young athletes are expected to complete the pediatric baseline testing — a 25-percent increase in the number of children currently tested. The project is intended to raise awareness through education about the injury and appropriate care for concussions.