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Penguins Foundation & UPMC Sports Medicine Enrollment for Heads UP

Dates & Enhancements Released for Baseline Testing Program

by Pittsburgh Penguins @penguins / Media Release

The Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation and UPMC Sports Medicine are once again teaming up to offer the Heads UP Pittsburgh program, an innovative concussion awareness and baseline testing initiative for young athletes in the Pittsburgh region.

Registration begins May 12, and we advise you to register early as available dates and locations book very quickly. To register your child, please go to www.upmc.com/baselinetesting.

The Penguins Foundation and UPMC Sports Medicine will celebrate an unprecedented six years for the Heads UP Pittsburgh program.  

Since 2011, the Heads UP Program has tested over 20,000 young folks. The program has expanded each year to serve more youth and include a wider spectrum of sports. Today, the program tests athletes in every major sport, cheerleading, dance, and many other physical activities.

The 2017 testing program runs from June 12 through July 28. Free neurocognitive baseline testing will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for 4,500 athletes ages 10-14. In addition, the first 3,000 athletes will receive a 9" pilates ball with exercise protocol to improve and strengthen core stability.

For younger athletes 7 to 9 years of age, a limited amount (500) of the pediatric version of the free neurocognitive baseline test is available. The Pediatric version will be provided only at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex in Cranberry and the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex on the South Side of Pittsburgh.   

Total registration is limited, with a maximum of 5,000 athletes to be tested overall. Registration is available immediately at www.upmc.com/baselinetesting.

This year, there are nine (9) testing sites. Community College of Allegheny County will once again serve as host to testing at its Boyce, North, South and West Hills Center campuses along with the Community College of Beaver County and the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex and UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. In addition, two new testing locations have been added, Greensburg-Salem High School, and UPMC Hamot servicing the Erie Pennsylvania location. Dates for Greensburg and Erie to be announced.

The entire testing process takes about one hour. Parents will meet with UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion staff to learn about Heads UP Pittsburgh. Licensed athletic trainers from UPMC Sports Medicine will supervise the program and testing. On the day of testing, participants must not be suffering from any concussion-like symptoms.

About Heads UP Pittsburgh

The Penguins Foundation and UPMC Sports Medicine originally teamed up in 2011 to create Heads UP Pittsburgh, the first program of its kind to address the growing amount of concussions in young athletes.  

Since Heads UP Pittsburgh's creation, over 50,000 parents, coaches, referees and teachers have been educated and 20,000 young athletes have been baseline tested from 25 different sports or activities. 

Starting in 2013, in an unprecedented move to provide precautions and exercises that could reduce concussions, 4,000 participants in Heads UP Pittsburgh received a free neck-strengthening kit detailing precautions and exercises that could reduce concussions with focused exercises for neck strengthening and concussion reduction.  

In 2014, the Penguins Foundation started to address other injuries in youth activities, and have provided over 2,000 participants a free flexibility kit. The kits focus on cardiovascular, strengthening and flexibility exercise. Experts believe such a device will help to limit the number of youth-athlete related injuries.

In 2015, discussions began with UPMC on improving fitness in our testing group. Recent studies focus on the importance of core strength and stability. With that in mind, the first 3,000 youth in 2015 received a balance disc with exercise protocol.
 
Over the past year, Heads UP Pittsburgh expanded its reach even further to include additional locations and the introduction of a pediatric version of the program. The Penguins Foundation continues to add tools for the safety and development of our youth in sports and other activities. This year, the Penguins Foundation will provide 3,000 youth with 9" pilates balls to support our efforts of improving core strength, agility and fitness. 

Heads UP Pittsburgh, the first program of its kind and a blueprint copied by other NHL organizations and sports leagues, now embarks on its sixth year of supporting young athletes by continuing to provide precautions and exercises that can ultimately reduce concussions and other sports injuries.

For more information, please visit the Pittsburgh Penguins Foundation website at www.pittsburghpenguinsfoundation.org, or call the Foundation at 412.255.1952.

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