FAYETTE COUNTY, Ga. - One local football league is taking safety very seriously. It's now testing kids as young as 5 for concussions.
And the testing doesn’t stop at the football players.
Cheerleaders will also have to get concussion screenings at the youth football league in Fayette County.
Anyone who does not take the baseline memory test, won't be allowed to play football or cheer.
Parent Janelle Guerin’s son Connor plays in the Fayette County Community Youth Football League. Her daughter Audrey, 5, will be a cheerleader this season.
"I love it! They can't wait to go to practice and to the games,” Guerin said.
And this week, both of them had their “memories” tested.
"Read them five words in order and they say, ‘repeat the words back to me.’ Showing them shapes and diagrams and having them repeat the shapes again,” Guerin said.
The league is conducting baseline concussion screenings for everyone who signed up. So if there were a head injury this season on or off the field, doctors would be able to compare test results before the accident to after.
"We're doing our best to make parents feel as best as possible that we are preparing them for this sport,” said league president Mark Brown.
Brown said in some parts of the country, participation in youth football has dropped because of concussion concerns. But it is up by 25 percent in the area.
Guerin believes the “safety first” approach, like these tests, is one of the reasons.
"Absolutely. I would never think to do it on my own. But now I have a comparison if we ever need it,” Guerin said.
Luckily the league is covering the cost for those screenings.
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