Essentia Health grant supports safety initiatives for Western Duluth Little League

Ron Alston, Vice President of Community Health & Wellness at Essentia Health, presented the funds to Western Duluth Little League Safety Officer Kari Bulthuis at John Baggs Memorial Little League Fields located behind historic Wade Stadium. Howie /

Thanks to a generous $4,170 grant from Essentia Health, Western Duluth Little League is able to support additional safety initiatives including King Devick testing and an AED for its intermediates field.

Western Duluth Little League, in partnership with Essentia Health, is now offering baseline and sideline concussion testing for all players of its players.

Western Duluth Little League is the first Little League program in Minnesota to implement the testing — the same test currently being used by MLB teams the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox.

The King Devick Test is administered using an iPad. Players are required to read numbers in this timed test. It takes less than two minutes to administer. The data is saved and in the event of a collision, impact from a ball or other injury in which a concussion is suspected the player retakes the test in the dugout. The results are immediate and help determine if a player needs to be removed from the game and be further evaluated by a physician.

This is an objective measure. The results are black and white, and there’s no guesswork on behalf of players, parents or coaches. If a player completes the test with errors or with a slower time, they need to be further evaluated by a physician.