The Sports Legacy Institute (SLI) will honor US Women’s Soccer Legends Brandi Chastain and Cindy Parlow Cone each with an Impact Award at SLI’s annual dinner that recognizes organizations and individuals for their commitment to solving the concussion crisis. The awards will be presented at the 7th Annual Impact Awards dinner, which raises funds for the non-profit SLI’s concussion advocacy, awareness, education, and research programs, on Thursday, October 30, 2014, at the Boston Harbor Hotel.
Chastain and Cone have been spokespersons for the Parents and Pros for Safer Soccer campaign (SaferSoccer.org, #SaferSoccer), which SLI launched in June with the Santa Clara University Institute for Sports Law and Ethics. The campaign seeks to eliminate headers in youth soccer prior to high school to reduce the risk of concussion in youth soccer players and allow them to focus on foot skill development. Nearly half of concussions could be eliminated in middle school soccer players by delaying the introduction of heading.
#SaferSoccer has been met with resistance from the soccer industry, but thanks to the leadership of Chastain and Cone, it is winning supporters among professional soccer players, coaches, schools, advocacy organizations, and youth soccer programs. A full list of supporters can be found at SaferSoccer.org.
“It takes leaders to create culture change, and Cindy Parlow Cone and Brandi Chastain are tireless advocates for protecting youth soccer players from concussions. The concussion care debacles at the 2014 FIFA World Cup showed us how far we have to go to change hearts and minds among soccer leadership, and I know we can count on Cindy and Brandi to lead that change,” said Dr. Robert Cantu, founding medical director of SLI.
The Impact Awards will be hosted by Jim Braude, host of New England Cable News (NECN) show “BroadSide” and co-host of Boston Public Radio on WGBH. Last year’s Impact Awards gathered over 250 attendees, athletes, and distinguished guests from across the country and raised more than $360,000 to support concussion advocacy, awareness, education, and research. Prior honorees include The Ivy League, WWE, the NFL, Dr. Ann McKee, and former athletes Ted Johnson, Micky Ward, and Keith Primeau.
Cindy Parlow Cone is also being honored with the SLI Impact Award for being the first female athlete to pledge to donate her brain to the VA-BU-SLI Brain Bank back in 2008. Since then, over 600 current and former athletes, including over 100 female athletes, have joined her. In addition, she courageously shared her ongoing struggle with post-concussion syndrome for the documentary Head Games.
Cone played on the US National Team for a decade and retired due to post-concussion syndrome as the 5th all-time leading goal scorer. She won gold medals in the 1996 and 2004 Olympics and helped lead the 1999 World Cup title-winning team. A two-time national champion and Hermann Trophy winner as the National Player of the Year at the University of North Carolina, she coached the Portland Timbers of the National Women’s Soccer League to the title in 2013 and also serves as director of coaching for the Triangle United Soccer Association.
Brandi Chastain is famed for her iconic penalty kick conversion that clinched the 1999 Women’s World Cup Soccer title for the US. A professional soccer player and member of the US National Team, Chastain’s international career spanned two decades and is highlighted by a 1996 Olympic gold medal and 1999 World Cup title. A graduate of Santa Clara University, Chastain now serves as a color commentator for both NBC and ABC, a volunteer assistant coach at Santa Clara, and on the board of the Institute for Sports Law and Ethics.