WEST ORANGE, NJ — With more than 30,000 young athletes screened since 2010, the Matthew J. Morahan III Health Assessment Center for Athletes (MJM) at RWJBarnabas Health will once again provide free cardiac and concussion baseline screenings to young athletes on Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Codey Arena in West Orange.

The screenings are free of charge and a parent or guardian must be present. The cardiac screening is available to the first 200 young athletes who register and open to ages 6 to 18. Concussion screenings are available for the first 120 children ages 5 and older. Registration is required in advance. To register and schedule an appointment time, parents/guardians are asked to email Teamlink@rwjbh.org or call 1.888.724.7123.

BACKGROUND: Physical activity is a great way for people of all ages to stay healthy, but it is not without its own risks. Whether a high-school quarterback, or a point-guard for the NBA, athletes of all kinds are at risk for suffering life-altering conditions as a result of sports-related injuries. The Centers for Disease Control reports that each year, more than 2.6 million children ages 19 and under are treated in the emergency department for sports and recreation-relation injuries.

Sign Up for E-News

With another scholastic sports season upon us, it is vital for parents and children to be aware of sport injuries and concussions. Children and teens are more susceptible to concussions from sports, falls and accidents than adults because their brains are still developing. Additionally, nearly 90 percent of sudden cardiac deaths (SCD) in young athletes occur during or after athletic activities and hidden heart conditions are often the cause.

Cardiac Screening:

Available to the first 200 young athletes who register, the cardiac screening is open to ages 6 to 18. When preliminary testing to identify serious cardiac problems is provided to young athletes, sudden cardiac arrest and tragic deaths may be avoided. Nearly 90 percent of sudden cardiac deaths in young athletes occur during or after athletic activities, and hidden heart conditions are often the cause. Cardiac screening will help to identify players who may require further testing or intervention.

Concussion Screening:

Once again, MJM and RWJBarnabas Health are excited to bring the FDA-approved ImPACT Pediatric® concussion screening for children ages 5 and older. Until recently, concussion screenings were only available for young athletes ages 10 and above. ImPACT Pediatric is an iPad-based computerized test that is individually and easily administered as well as engaging for children, while effectively measuring neurocognitive function.

At the MJM event on September 8, concussion screening will be available to young athletes, ages 5 and older to the first 120 registrants.  Having a concussion baseline study (ImPACT) for a young athlete can help identify issues in the future. If an athlete is believed to have suffered a head injury, this screening test may be used to evaluate the severity of the head injury and determine when it is safe to return to play.