West Duluth Little League Takes Concussions Serious

Essentia Health Contributes With Big Donation

Duluth, Minn.

Hundreds of baseball players in the West Duluth little league are now safer because of the contribution and team work from Essentia Health.

A grant issued to the little league will allow technology into the dugout, a first of its kind in the state of Minnesota. Concussions are common in contact sports and now multiple MLB and NFL franchises us a program to asses athletes directly on the field moments after taking a hard blow to the head.

West Duluth Little League has adopted the program and currently they’re the only ones to do so in the state of Minnesota.

“That’s the whole lot different than we played. You just shake it off and jump back in there, you didn’t know,” Corey Verhel, Vice President of WDLL said.

For the West Duluth little league, the biggest thing that falls under safety is the concussion protocol

“We know how it can affect them down the road we at least know that much. It’s not a bad thing to have these kids sit out if needed and be evaluated,” says Verhel.

Thanks to Essentia health, the era of using technology in the dugout has made its way to the Northland.

“My kids didn’t have access to devises like this when they played little league. So just having the opportunity to be able to have a baseline capture that data and when a kid is injured on the field to be able to asses that and do something about it right away I think that great.” Ronald Alston, Essentia Health VP of Community Health & Wellness.

According to studies, 85% of concussions go undiagnosed. West Duluth little league is doing their part to change that.

“We have the software, we have the tools with the iPad and we’ll be able to do that. Make a quick assessment whether to put a kid back in the game, pull them out for the remainder of the game send them on to get looked at by a specialist,” says Verhel.

It’s a quick and easy way to make sure the player should re–enter the game.

“Now there’s so much out there that were able to asses with little questions and how quickly they can answer those questions,” says Verhel.

Coaches on each team will know exactly what to do if they need to have one of their players undergo the concussion protocol.

“Even if it’s not quite a concussion, still we want to make sure that our coaches are equipped with the right abilities or the base line testing and at least be able to asses these players right there,” says Verhel.

Its money well spent, once each player is tested and put into the database, it will follow them into all other sports.

“They can use it if they’re playing Jr. League football, if they’re playing hockey. It’s data that shared and used across the community,” says Verhel.

Players are not required to sign up for the program.