Retired Professional Hockey Player
Clark was drafted First overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft after spending his Junior career with his home Province Saskatoon Blades on the WHL.
Division Chief of Pediatric Neuropsychology,
Children's National Health System
Dr. Gioia is the Division Chief of Pediatric Neuropsychology at Children’s National Health System, where he directs the SCORE Concussion Program.
Faculty of Health Sciences,
School of Human Kinetics
In 2005 Dr. Hoshizaki developed the Neurotrauma Impact Research Laboratory at the University of Ottawa with the following vision: “Head injuries will become a rare and inconsequential part of athletic and leisure activities.”
Chair of Neurosurgery,
University of Toronto
Charles H. Tator is trained in Neurosurgery and Neuropathology and was Chair of Neurosurgery, at the University of Toronto who founded ThinkFirst, Canada, a national brain and spinal cord injury foundation.
Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Concussion Legacy Foundation
Chris Nowinski is co-founder and executive director of the Concussion Legacy Foundation a non-profit organization dedicated to solving the sports concussion crisis and serves as a co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University School of Medicine.
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Retired Professional Hockey Player
Clark was drafted First overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1985 NHL Entry Draft after spending his Junior career with his home Province Saskatoon Blades on the WHL. Clark represented Canada in the ’85 World Juniors winning Gold. In his rookie season with the Leafs, Wendel made an immediate impact in the league and with Leafs Nation. He scored 34 goals for 45 points and took on all comers racking up 227 penalty minutes. His physical style of play and offensive talent built the foundation of a great career and later leading to Clark becoming the Captain of the storied Maple Leafs. He led by example and was the one working the hardest, scoring the big goals and doing whatever was needed to win. This style of play took its toll and at the young age of 33 he was forced into retirement due to back injuries. In 793 career NHL games Clark recorded 564 points and 1690 Penalty Minutes playing for Toronto, Quebec, NY Islanders, Tampa Bay, Detroit & Chicago. He currently resides with his family in Toronto and keeps busy as an Ambassador with the Leafs plus various charitable causes and has a restaurant chain and Meineke Car Care Centres.
Chair of Neurosurgery,
University of Toronto
Charles Tator trained in Neurosurgery and Neuropathology and was Chair of Neurosurgery, at the University of Toronto. He was the head of Neurosurgery at the Toronto Western Hospital, and founded ThinkFirst, Canada, a national brain and spinal cord injury foundation. In 2012, ThinkFirst merged with three other national injury prevention charities to form Parachute Canada of which he is a Board Member. He held two research chairs at the University of Toronto, and is a member of the Order of Canada, and the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. Currently, he is a Senior Scientist in the Toronto Western Research Institute and Project Leader of the Canadian Sports Concussion Project at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre. He has received awards from the Canadian Paraplegic Association, the University of California Reeve-Irvine, Canadian Brain Injury Coalition, USA Hockey and American Spinal Injuries Association. His book on Catastrophic Injuries in Sports and Recreation was published by the University of Toronto Press in 2008, and his Practice Primer on Concussions appeared in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2013. In 2014, he was awarded the Medal of Honour by Canada’s Pharmaceutical Association.
Co-Founder and Executive Director of the
Concussion Legacy Foundation
Chris Nowinski is co-founder and executive director of the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF), formerly Sports Legacy Institute (SLI), a non-profit organization dedicated to solving the sports concussion crisis. He serves as a co-director of the Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy at Boston University School of Medicine (BU CSTE). Mr. Nowinski also serves on the Ivy League Multi-Sports Concussion Committee, the National Football League Players Association Mackey/White TBI Research Committee and on the board of directors of the Brain Injury Association of America. He was named an Eisenhower Fellow in 2011, and is a Ph.D. candidate in behavioral neuroscience at BU School of Medicine.
A former Harvard football player and WWE professional wrestler, he was forced to retire after he suffered from a series of concussions in 2003. He debuted on WWE's flagship program Monday Night RAW in 2002, when he was named "Newcomer of the Year" by RAW Magazine, and was the youngest male Hardcore Champion in WWE history.
Diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome, Chris began a quest to better understand this condition. It wasn’t until he visited the renowned neurosurgeon Robert Cantu that Chris was first exposed to medical research that revealed to him that concussions and brain trauma were misunderstood in the sports world. Chris realized that this lack of awareness among athletes, coaches, and even medical professionals not only cost him his career, but also threatened the health and well-being of athletes of all ages. This led him to write the critically acclaimed book Head Games: Football’s Concussion Crisis, published in 2006, in an effort to educate the world about this serious public health issue. The book was adapted for the 2012 documentary film, Head Games, directed by Steve James, and Head Games the book was updated and rereleased.
Through his continued advocacy and investigative work, Chris has raised this issue into the national consciousness. It began in November 2006, when Chris led the investigation that found 44-year-old former NFL star Andre Waters was suffering from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease caused by trauma, when he committed suicide. Chris obtained permission from the Waters family to study Mr. Waters’ brain tissue. The story ran on the front page of The New York Times in January 2007.
To continue this groundbreaking research, Chris co-founded SLI with Dr. Cantu, and partnered with BU to create the BU CSTE in 2008. As of 2012, the CSTE has studied the brains of over 140 athletes post-mortem and has redefined our understanding of CTE, proving the disease extends into college and youth football, hockey, and other sports. Nowinski is a co-author on over ten academic publications, including the seminal 2010 paper by Ann McKee et. al. establishing that CTE can contribute to motor neuron disease.
Chris and his team’s research has been featured in such print outlets as The New York Times, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, Time Magazine, and ESPN the Magazine. He has been featured on ESPN, ABC Nightline, CNN, Fox, NPR, and more. His profile in May 2007 by HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel won the Emmy for Sports Journalism. A second HBO Real Sports episode aired in January, 2010, a third in August, 2010 and a fourth in November, 2012.
In 2012, Mr. Nowinski received the United States Sports Academy Distinguished Service Award and the Sport at its Best Award from Ralph Nader’s League of Fans as a Player Safety Advocate, and was named with five other concussion experts by the Canada’s Globe and Mail to the Power 50 list of people affecting Canadian sports, ranking number three. In 2011 Chris received the Presidential Medallion from Western New England College, the school’s highest honor, in 2011, the Zach Lystedt Angel Award from Sarah Jane Brain Foundation in 2011, and was named by Hockey News as one of the 40 most powerful people in hockey under 40. In 2010 he was named a finalist by Sports Illustrated for Sportsman of the Year and received the Patrick Brady Award from the Brain Injury Association of Illinois. In 2008 he received the CoBI Award from the Council on Brain Injury and a PETA Compassionate Action Award for launching the BU CSTE brain donation program.
The increased awareness forced a radical change for how sports approaches brain trauma, from NFL, NHL, and NCAA, to high schools and youth sports. The NFL gave a $1 MM unrestricted gift to the CSTE in 2010. Chris’ work in the field of concussion research and advocacy has made him a sought-after voice for awareness. Since 2004 he has spoken over 200 times at medical conferences, school, and sports organizations around the world on the issue of concussions in sports.
Chris was a three-year letterman and two-year starter at defensive tackle for the Harvard University football team, where he graduated cum laude with a degree in sociology in 2000. A member of the 1997 Ivy League Championship team, he was named Honorable Mention All-Ivy after his junior season, and 2nd Team All-Ivy as a senior. He played four sports in high school, and captained the football and basketball teams his senior year.
Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Human Kinetics
Sport related head and neck injuries are responsible for some of the most catastrophic injuries. The outcome of these head injuries can be devastating, often leading to significant lifelong physical, academic, emotional, and economic consequences. Next to avoidance and education, protective head gear is the most effective intervention strategy for preventing or minimizing sport-related head injuries.
In 2005 Dr. Hoshizaki developed the Neurotrauma Impact Research Laboratory at the University of Ottawa with the following vision: “Head injuries will become a rare and inconsequential part of athletic and leisure activities.” To date the laboratory has attracted over 1.8 million dollars in research support. The mission of the Neurotrauma Impact Research Laboratory is to undertake research that contributes in a meaningful way to decreasing all types of head injury in sport.
Dr. Hoshizaki participates in national and international helmet standard organizations to develop and improve safety requirements for sport helmet certifications (ASTM, CSA, HECC, CE, ISO). He was a technical advisor for Parachute; a national educational organization that is committed to educating Canadians to the risks resulting in head injuries. The Xenith X1 football helmet and CCM Resistance hockey helmet are examples of bringing research to practice. Research undertook in 2005 was ultimately used to develop an innovative product designed to decrease head injuries in American football (Xenith.com) and ice hockey (CCM). He has published over 70 scientific papers and 120 scientific presentations involving head injuries in sport and was named as one of the top fifty most influential people in sport in 2011 by Globe and Mail
Division Chief of Pediatric Neuropsychology, Children's National Health System
Dr. Gioia is the Division Chief of Pediatric Neuropsychology at Children’s National Health System, where he directs the SCORE Concussion Program. He is Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the GWU School of Medicine. As a researcher, he has developed a number of post-concussion tools for children. He has worked with the CDC on their “Heads Up” concussion educational toolkits. Dr. Gioia has participated in the International Concussion in Sport Group Consensus meetings, American Academy of Neurology Sports Concussion Guideline panel, and the CDC’s mild TBI guideline development. He works with the Washington Capitals, Baltimore Ravens, and many youth sports organizations.