PITTSBURGH (NEWSRADIO 1020 KDKA) — With fall comes football, and kids across the country are getting ready to strap on their pads.

This year, even more scrutiny will be placed on contact sports and the concussions that could result, and doctors and critics are weighing in.

Dr. Joseph Maroon, Steelers’ team neurologist and renowned concussion doctor, is championing a new program that will test a million child athletes across the U.S. for concussions as part of the biggest testing program ever.

“The most important thing once an individual does have a concussion is not returning while there’s still symptoms or signs,” said Dr. Maroon. “The impact test, by having a baseline and then subsequently comparing it to the baseline after a concussion, gives the best data available – objective data – to assess memory, the ability to process information, reaction time and symptoms; so, that it is now the standard of care in the NFL, NHL and over 3,000 high schools and colleges in the United States.”

Called PACE, or Protecting Athletes through Concussion Education, it will be funded in part by Dick’s Sporting Goods, who will donate $1 for every pair of athletic shoes sold between now and Sept. 12, 2011, to help fund the testing.

KDKA AM’s Larry and John talk to Dr. Maroon about PACE and the dangers concussions can cause.

But should kids be playing contact sports at all?

Brad Culpepper, i9 Sports spokesperson and NFL veteran, says kids shouldn’t be playing contact football period. He advocates flag football, and won’t even let his own kids play contact football.

KDKA AM’s Larry and John talk to Brad about football and concussions, as well as his thoughts on the 2011 NFL season and whether he believes James Harrison was singled out last year for controversial hits.

i9 Sports
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