Softball means the world to 11-year-old Danielle Paradis.
"The day I started playing it, I fell in love with the sport."
That world fell apart when she was diagnosed with scoliosis last year.
"I'll get, if I get liked tagged in the back, or something, I might start crying cause it really hurts," said Danielle Paradis.
Her spine has a 20-degree curvature. Experts say anything over 10 degrees needs attention. A normal spine has no curve. Doctors can put young patients in a brace, which slows curve progression in 75% of cases. While they may prevent surgery, braces can be bulky and embarrassing.
"If your curve is not going to change, then we can kind of let you go free, but there is no way we have right now to really accurately tell us that," said CG Mark Lee, M.D., Connecticut Children's Medical Center.
Mark Lee at the Connecticut Children's Medical Center says this "scoli-score" test may solve the problem. A saliva sample is checked for 53 DNA markers, then patients then get a score between one and 200.
"A low score tells me that, the curve that you have, when you come to see me, will not change at all, and the high score tells me that the curve probably will change and you might need surgery down the line."
For Danielle's parents, it offers a sort-of security.
"No matter how early you detected it, if it does go to surgery, you know it couldn't have been prevented," said Tina Paradis and Jeff Paradis, Danielle's Parents.
Danielle now wears a back brace at night but still suits up for every game.
"I love the rush. I just love everybody on my team," said Danielle Paradis.
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