Tag Archives: legacy
In honor of my late husband John Mackey, I’ve started a fundraising campaign to help advance CTE research and concussion awareness. Our story is below. Please click here to donate.
John Mackey made a difference – in football, in business, and in life.
As a star tight end at Syracuse University, he quietly and peacefully made inroads into the discrimination that permeated society, building lifelong friendships that transcended ethnicity and socioeconomic backgrounds.
With the Baltimore Colts, John revolutionized the tight end position and was selected to the Pro Bowl five times, accomplishments that earned him a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and praise from Mike Ditka as “the greatest tight end to ever play the game”.
As the first president of the National Football League Players Association following the merger of the NFL and AFL, he fought for better pension and disability benefits for players, and gained the right to free agency that today’s NFL players still enjoy.
John’s advocacy efforts – his determination to give back – didn’t stop with the NFLPA or end with his NFL career.
He partnered with Jack Kemp to launch a non-profit that gave educational assistance to disadvantaged children. He actively supported the civil rights movement that changed the course of history. He reached out to others, whether it was to offer guidance on career choices or to advocate for recognition of an under-appreciated teammate.
That’s the kind of person John Mackey was.
Although dementia robbed John of his powerful voice, his private battle with the disease became the public face of the link between head trauma and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). He was the catalyst for the 88 Plan that provides financial assistance for those affected, for the advocacy and fundraising efforts of his Baltimore Colt teammates that helped so many former NFL players, and for my own involvement in the Concussion Legacy Foundation. When John died on July 6, 2011, the widespread media coverage focused as much on these later-in-life accomplishments as on any of his achievements earlier in life. Even in illness and in death, he changed the world.
That, I believe, is John Mackey’s greatest legacy.
Like my husband, I want to make a difference, and that’s why I’ve joined the Concussion Legacy Foundation’s My Legacy campaign. In honor of John’s #88 jersey, my goal is to raise $88,000 – that’s 1,000 people donating $88 each or any variation – to continue John’s and my legacy. The funds we raise will propel CTE research forward; help educate athletes, coaches, parents, and administrators; and create reform to ensure that future generations of athletes will play safer.
I hope you will consider contributing to John Mackey’s legacy, and regard such a donation as an expression of your own legacy. You can click here to contribute to the campaign, and please forward to friends who are touched or inspired by the legacy left by my husband John Mackey.
Organizations that Battle Sports Concussions to be Honored with Santa Clara University’s ETHOS Award for Ethics in Sport
Two Organizations that Battle Sports Concussions to be Honored with Santa Clara University’s ETHOS Award for Ethics in Sport on May 6
Santa Clara University’s Institute of Sports Law and Ethics (ISLE) will award its second-annual ETHOS Award for Ethics in Sports to two organizations that are using science and persuasion to battle the epidemic of crippling, sports-related brain trauma.
The 2014 ETHOS Award will be presented to the Sports Legacy Institute (SLI) and the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (BU CSTE), two pioneering organizations raising awareness of concussions and providing advanced research and advocacy to effect major, positive changes in the field of sports medicine and injury prevention.
Three individuals who are the founders and forces behind SLI and BU CSTE will accept the award:
*Dr. Robert Cantu, world-renowned neurosurgeon and concussion expert; co-founder and medical director of SLI, co-founder and co-director of BU CSTE; clinical professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the Boston University School of Medicine; author of first return-to-play guidelines after a concussion, and author of the recent book Concussions and Our Kids.
*Dr. Ann McKee, co-founder and co-director of the BU CSTE and professor of neurology and pathology at BU School of Medicine and chief of the neuropathology service for the New England Veterans Administration Medical Centers. She has performed groundbreaking research on over 100 brains of deceased athletes who have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
*Chris Nowinski, co-founder and executive director of SLI, co-founder and co-director of BU CSTE; a former Harvard University football player and WWE professional wrestler who was forced to retire from post-concussion syndrome; author of Head Games, which was turned into a documentary of the same name and helped bring the dangers of sports concussions to public attention.
“We are honored to receive this award that shares our lifetime focus of making sports more ethical and safe,” said Cantu.
The $5,000 award will be presented at a 7 p.m. dinner at Santa Clara University’s Adobe Lodge on May 6. Representatives of major Bay Area sports organizations are expected to attend the event, which is expected to sell out. The award will be presented by Brent Jones, retired tight end of the San Francisco 49ers, and John Tortora, COO of the San Jose Sharks. Interested media may attend by RSVP’ing to Deborah Lohse of SCU Media Relations (email@example.com).
The ETHOS prize is an annual award honoring a decision, action, initiative, or program that has contributed to the ethics of sport in the United States. For more about the Institute of Sports Law and Ethics see law.scu.edu/sportslaw.
For more about the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy see bu.edu/cte.
For more about the Sports Legacy Institute see SportsLegacy.org