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Posted on Sep 7, 2012 in Stuff We Like

NFL & Army teaming up to tackle Traumatic Brain Injuries

By John Ingoldsby

NFL & Army Stage Panel at West Point. The West Point panel included, from left: Dr Richard Ellenbogen, Major Sarah Goldman, Bart Oates, General Raymond Odierno, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Major Christopher Molino, Troy Vincent, and Staff Sergeant Shawn Hibbard. (Photo by John Ingoldsby)

WEST POINT, NY, Sept. 7, 2012 – The National Football League and the U.S. Army have shared a storied history of working together, and now have formed perhaps their most important alliance ever in teaming up to tackle Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).

The two iconic institutions chose the hallowed grounds of the United State Military Academy at West Point for the announcement, which included a panel discussion on this timely topic before an audience that included 200 Cadets.

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The event was kicked off by Army Chief of Staff General Raymond T. Odierno and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who both stressed the complete collaboration they envision to implement a culture change to reduce brain injuries, including most importantly concussions.

General Raymond Odierno (left), U.S. Army Chief of Staff, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell hold an outdoors press conference at West Point following a panel discussion regarding their new alliance to study Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs). (Photo by John Ingoldsby)By emphasizing the importance of shared responsibility, self-regulation and peer pressure in battling this issue, the General and the Commissioner spearheaded a candid conversation by a star-studded panel that advocates players and soldiers seek help for a head injury to either themselves or those around them.

This call for healthy behaviors was echoed by the panel that included former players Troy Vincent and Bart Oates, Neurologist Dr. Richard Ellenbogen, a Co-Chair of the NFL’s Head, Neck & Spine Committee, and Major Sarah Goldman, Major Christopher Molino, and Staff Sergeant Shawn Hibbard, all of whom contributed their perspective from the trenches.

In launching this initiative, both organizations created the websites www.NFL.com/military and www.army.mil/tbi, while also pledging to hold forums at NFL team facilities and Army bases, increasing awareness through PSAs and social media, pairing retired players with soldiers transitioning out of the Army, and sharing medical research and information.

John Ingoldsby, a leading writer on the intersection of sports and the military who attended this event, is president of IIR Sports, Inc. (www.IIRsports.com) in Boston, a media & public relations firm. As a former newspaper reporter covering Fort Devens, he was the first New England media representative ever chosen by the Pentagon to cover NATO war games in Europe. His father was a Lieutenant Colonel in General Patton’s legendary Third Army during World War II.

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