Think Tank 2014 Brain Injury: Behind the Bleachers was a roaring success! The Grand in Long Beach was a perfect setting for the day. Over 200 attendees arrived to fresh coffee, juice and mufﬁns. The Ballroom was set up comfortably for everyone to hear the speakers and visit the various vendors. The hallways were abuzz with excitement for Think Tank 2014!
Our own team advocate, George Visger, former San Francisco 49er and TBI survivor started off the speaker lineup. His story of his playing and injury days was compelling, and his candid statements of B.R.A.I.N. being virtually his only source of therapy in 30 years were both shocking and encouraging. George has found a place where he is helped and he helps others. You can ﬁnd George every week speaking to survivors, family members and generally giving hope to those who walk in our doors at B.R.A.I.N.
The next speaker to the podium was Psychiatrist, Greg Hipskind MD from Denver, Colorado. Dr. Hipskind described himself as a “Country Doctor who searches for the truth.” His amiable personality, yet astute grasp for research data, made his presentation a hit. His powerpoint slides showing the difference between brain injury and other health issues such as heart disease and cancer were largely unknown to the audience. The pie chart showed the tremendous number of TBIs next to the other much more publicized diseases. Dr. Hipskind gave a brilliant overview of brain injury. His attention to detail to solve health puzzles gives him a leg up on most physicians. Dr. Hipskind is nationally known for his assistance in court cases as an expert witness to diagnose and describe brain injury. His work with Cerescan, an advanced brain imaging company in Denver has given him the perfect environment to give patients the best in proper brain injury diagnosis and treatment plans.
Bennet Omalu MD is truly the Father of CTE (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) as he is the person who named and published the disease after examining the deceased brain of former Pittsburgh Steelers’ Center, Mike Webster in 2002. His determination of brain injury in Webster began an avalanche in the NFL as other players’ brains were given to Dr. Omalu for examination. The ramiﬁcation was huge and there continues to be important impact even to this day about brain injury in football and the NFL’s knowledge. Dr. Omalu gave an outstanding presentation that both challenged and encouraged us all. His current work is research to bring clarity in diagnosing brain injury in living patients. We are honored at B.R.A.I.N. to have a formal afﬁliation with Dr. Omalu since 2010, and we look forward to a future of more partnership efforts with him.
Kevin Pearce, the ﬂamboyant and skilled former U.S. Pro Snowboarder won our hearts and reminded us of our blessings. His positive description of his own mother and her inﬂuence on his recovery was wonderful. He showed a clip from his documentary ﬁlm, The Crash Reel and gave a terrific talk about recovery and survival. His campaign Love Your Brain is connected now with B.R.A.I.N. so that awareness for Brain Injury can ﬂourish through Kevin’s experiences as well as our work here in Cypress.
The ﬁnal hour at Think Tank was given to a panel of experts composed of our speakers and some sports-related personnel that put a cap on a truly inspiring day. Thank you to all who participated in making Think Tank 2014 our best one yet!