FIRST “NEURO-HUDDLE” EVENT TO BE HELD IN HONOLULU IS ESTABLISHED BY JOHN WILBUR LEGACY FUND
The family opted out of an NFL settlement to create the free conference to help shareholders have a meaningful discussion on the issue of brain injuries
Who: John Wilbur Legacy Fund
What: Neuro-Huddle 2015
When: January 23, 2015, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Where: University of Hawai‘i, Stan Sheriff Center, Ed Wong Hospitality Room
HONOLULU, HAWAI‘I – The John Wilbur Legacy Fund with the support of Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman and the Hawai‘i Concussion Awareness Management Program (HCAMP) will host the first ever Neuro-Huddle Conference at the University of Hawai‘i Stan Sheriff Center – Ed Wong Hospitality Suite on January 23, 2015 from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Neuro-Huddle is an all day event focused on bringing together stakeholders to discuss the issue of brain injuries as it relates to sports. The event is free and open to the public. Monetary donations are encouraged.
Neuro-Huddle 2015 is focused on the game of football and will share vital information on brain injury prevention, treatment, and general awareness. The late John Wilbur was an American football offensive lineman in the National Football League who played for the Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Rams and Washington Redskins. An anti-war and civil rights activist, Wilbur was the Players Association representative for the Dallas Cowboys and the treasurer of the NFLPA during his time with the Washington Redskins. Following his NFL career he became a business and sports leader in Honolulu. He was a professional players’ agent, coached special teams at the University of Hawai‘i, and mentored many aspiring football players and athletes, supporting many football players from the Polynesian community.
John Wilbur was a victim of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) that devastated his life and family. Based on the sound clinical impression of local Neurologist, Dr. David Kaminskas, Wilbur was clinically diagnosed with CTE at the age of 69, one full year before his death while living in Hawai‘i. Dr. Kaminskas attributed the diagnosis to a decade of traumatic history from the NFL. Dr. Kaminskas is also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Neurology for the University of Hawai‘i John A. Burns School of Medicine and Director of the Center for Headache and Facial Pain and Center for Stroke and Neurologic Restoration at Hawai‘i Pacific Neuroscience. This clinical diagnosis was confirmed by autopsy following Wilbur’s death.
At the time of Wilbur’s death, his family and friends were appalled at the profound changes to his personality during the last years of his life, including a deep depression, anger and disorientation at performing once commonplace activities. His daughters, Lindsea Wilbur and Dione Smith, are key organizers of the event.
“After experiencing the debilitating, long-term effects of the undiagnosed brain injuries our father suffered after years of professional football, we want the Neuro-Huddle to showcase current research and disseminate knowledge relating to TBI in football at all levels,” said Lindsea Wilbur. “We want to support more accountability, integrity and mindfulness in the sports culture to ensure future generations continue to benefit from athletic programs without the risk of long-term injury.”
John Wilbur was one of 229 other NFL class opt-outs to the current, ongoing NFL Concussion Litigation settlement that was granted preliminary approval on July 7, 2014 by the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The class action settlement is still awaiting final approval.
Participating organizations for the 2015 Neuro-Huddle include the University of California Los Angeles Tisch BrainSPORT program, University of San Francisco Memory and Aging Center, Boston University CTE Center, Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience, and HCAMP.
HCAMP, which is a part of the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Department of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science, is funded in partnership with the State of Hawai‘i Department of Education and State of Hawai‘i Department of Health. With its support, the Wilbur family would like to turn the Neuro-Huddle into an annual forum to convene stakeholders, highlight individuals and projects, promote healing on all levels; and share research related to Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) for athletes, coaches, families, fans, administrators, policymakers, caregivers and doctors. about biomechanics, diagnosis, care and treatment of TBI and CTE.
“We all need to be involved in the conversation to protect our present and future athletes. We must also honor those who suffered the unforeseen injuries that negatively impacted their lives,” said Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman’s Senior Partner Gary Galiher.
Thousands of youth athletes here in Hawai‘i and nationally are at risk for brain injury and CTE. Brains studied by Dr. Ann McKee at the VA-BU-SLI Brain Bank show repetitive brain trauma results in a build up of Tau (an abnormal protein) in football players as young as 18 years old. The Center for Disease Control calls brain injury (concussions) an “epidemic.” Chris Nowinski, co-director of the Sports Legacy Institute, cited during an Aspen Institute panel, “High school players take 2,220 hits to the head in a year.”
“Parents, players, and their coaches must take every precaution to help protect athletes from the devastating and permanent long-term effects of concussions. Let this be the beginning of a new discussion that will protect all who participate in high-impact sports,” said Galiher.
Convening leading researchers and physicians across multiple disciplines and former players and coaches from across the nation, including Hawai‘i, the John Wilbur Legacy Fund, HCAMP and Galiher DeRobertis & Waxman want to directly address sports-related concussions that continue to rise, especially in contact sports such as football. The Neuro-Huddle is a platform for sharing ideas about innovations, prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
For more information on the Neuro-Huddle 2015 visit www.johnwilburlegacy.com or to register for the event visit http://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-neuro-huddle-2015-tickets-15321037636.