Sports Legacy Institute to Honor Advocates & Raise Money for Concussion Research with April 30 Event

The Sports Legacy Institute (SLI), a Boston-based 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to concussion advocacy, education, and research, will honor two individuals, Dr. Gerry Gioia and Diana Brett, “who have demonstrated a tireless commitment to solving the concussion crisis,” at the 4th Annual Tom McHale Memorial on Wednesday, April 30, at 6:00 PM at the Franklin Square Conference Center, 1315 K St NW, Washington, DC 20005. The event will be hosted by Jeremy Schaap of ESPN, an Emmy Award-winning reporter and New York Times best-selling author.

The annual reception, which brings together 200 advocates, government leaders, members of the military, scientists, and athletes, was founded to honor the memory of former NFL and Cornell football player Tom McHale, who died in 2008 at the age of 45 and was the 6th former NFL player diagnosed post-mortem with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The event now honors all 200 “Legacy Donors,” or brain donors, to the SLI-Boston University (BU) CTE Brain Bank, located at the Bedford (MA) VA Medical Center. Over 70 family members of Legacy Donors are attending as part of SLI’s first “Family Huddle,” a day-long series of events to allow families to meet with the research team and learn how the donation of their loved one’s brain has advanced CTE research.

Dr. Gerard Gioia will be presented with the Leadership Award for his commitment to youth concussion education, management, prevention, and research as the Chief of the Division of Pediatric Neuropsychology and Director of the Safe Concussions Outcome, Recovery and Education (SCORE) Program at Children’s National Health System. He is also a Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, and is a dedicated volunteer advisor organizations and initiatives including USA Football, US Lacrosse, the CDC Heads Up Program, and the SLI Hit Count® Program. As part of the Leadership award, Dr. Gioia will receive a $2,500 grant to support his research and educational initiatives.

SLI Co-Founder and Medical Director Dr. Robert Cantu said, “I applaud Dr. Gioia’s efforts to protect today’s athletes through various initiatives, including his advancement of neuropsychological testing. He is truly a pillar in concussion work, especially in our youth.”

SLI will also honor Diana Brett, mother of Legacy Donor Daniel Brett, with the Legacy Award, which is given to a family member or members of an SLI Legacy Donor who have honored the memory of their Donor by supporting the mission and goals of SLI and the BU CTE Center. Daniel Brett took his life in May 2011 at age 16 while suffering high school football related post-concussion syndrome. In response to her family’s tragedy, Diana established the Daniel Brett Foundation, whose annual fundraiser, Daniel’s Dash for Concussion Awareness, was the first ever concussion awareness 5K event in the country. Foundation successes include collaborating with the Florida High School Athletic Association to mandate a one-hour SLI-administered concussion training program Florida high school athletic directors, currently only state to require in-person training for AD’s. Diana also advocated for the successful adoption of a resolution to provide a Concussion Management Program for all Broward County public high schools. The Resolution mandates implementing concussion awareness training countywide for parents, athletic trainers, students, and teachers, follow-up guidance and services post-injury, and baseline testing.

“Diana has honored Daniel’s memory by working tirelessly to prevent future Florida teens from suffering the consequences of a mismanaged concussion,” said Lisa McHale, SLI Director of Family Relations and wife of Tom McHale.

Last year, SLI recognized New Mexico Senator Tom Udall with Leadership Award for his concussion advocacy. This year’s event-sponsored by Carol Quimby-Bonan, Children’s Medical Safety Research Institute, Claire and Albert Dwoskin, Brave Publications, HeadFirst, Bruce Hagen, Aurelia Salon, and Tower Companies-includes both a drawing that offers chances to win suite packages to sporting events including Georgetown Hoyas basketball, the Washington Redskins, and the Washington Nationals, as well as a silent auction featuring chances to win a trip on a boomerang yacht and stays in Cape Cod, Mexico, and Palm Springs.

Click here to purchase tickets. For sponsorship information or to include a congratulatory or memorial message in the event program book, please contact Christine Perocchi at or (781) 819-5707.


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