Steelers Pledge $1M to Launch Foundation

STEELERS PRESIDENT ART ROONEY II ANNOUNCES CREATION OF THE CHUCK NOLL FOUNDATION FOR BRAIN INJURY RESEARCH

PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Steelers team President, Art Rooney II, announced today the establishment of a new foundation, The Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research, to support continued research and education regarding brain injuries and treatment of sports-related concussions. The Steelers organization will help launch the foundation with an initial contribution of $1 million.

Chuck Noll, for whom the Foundation is named, enjoyed a 23-year coaching career with the Steelers that culminated with his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. Under his leadership, the Steelers became the first team in NFL history to win four Super Bowls. Noll’s commitment to the well-being of his players ultimately led to the development of the ImPACT test (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing) used by NFL team doctors since 2007, and now internationally used to help monitor concussions for athletes at all levels. ImPACT and ImPACT Pediatric were recently recognized as safe and effective by the FDA, and are the only FDA approved tests to assess cognitive function for suspected brain injury in patients ages 5 to 60. To date, over 12 million athletes and patients have been baselined with these tests.

The Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research will fund research which it believes is the most promising in the area of sports-related concussions and related conditions. To help best evaluate which research programs to fund, the Foundation will be served by a national medical advisory panel comprised of some of the most renowned neurosurgeons in the Country. The medical advisory panel will include:

  1. Neurosurgeon Dr. Julian Bailes, specializing in brain and spine care, is a former team neurosurgeon for the Steelers and is internationally recognized for his pioneering work in Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and is also the head of the medical advisory board to Pop Warner Football.
  2. Neurosurgeon Dr. Regis is a founding partner of the Atlanta Brain and Spine Care Center, a spinal research foundation regional center of excellence. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the Neurosurgical Research and Educations Foundation, and the Lumbar Spine Research Society.
  3. UPMC Neurosurgeon Dr. Joseph Maroon was the first team-appointed neurosurgeon  in the National Football League by the Steelers in 1982. Dr. Maroon is a professor and Vice Chairman of the Heindl  Scholar in Neuroscience.  “The current practice for the evaluation for concussions and brain injuries in sports is due in large part to the support and encouragement of Chuck Noll,” said Maroon.

Funding decisions will be approved by the Foundation’s Board of Directors, which will include former Steelers and NFL Player and current ESPN commentator, Merril Hoge (bio attached). Hoge retired from his eight-year NFL career following two concussions that he suffered while playing for the Chicago Bears in 1994.

“I was part of the campaign in 1989 that addressed the importance of having kids wear helmets when active in all wheel sports,” said Hoge. “In 1990, Chuck Noll encouraged Dr. Maroon to come up with another tool to help evaluate player’s severity and state of a concussion. A year later, cognitive testing evolved from Dr. Maroon and Dr. (Mark) Lovell. It’s only fitting that the Steelers continue to be the pioneer towards helping the game of football become safer for all those who love it. I am truly honored to be part of the Chuck Noll Foundation Board.”

In addition, Steelers co-owners Art Rooney II, Rob Citrone and Larry Paul will become members of the Board of Directors of the Foundation.

The Pittsburgh region has become a leading center for the research and treatment of sports-related concussion injuries. This is highlighted by the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, considered one of the most respected in the world for the treatment of sports concussions. In 2015, the UPMC Sport Medicine Concussion Program hosted a conference in Pittsburgh which included over 30 renowned Neurologists, clinicians and researchers from around the country. The experts gathered to share the latest research in concussion treatment, and propose standards and guidelines on the best practices, protocols and active therapies for successfully treating concussions. A key result of the conference was a joint statement affirming that concussions are treatable.

“The Pittsburgh Steelers are extremely committed to the science of brain research and the evaluation of treatments for sports-related concussions,” said Rooney II. “We are pleased to be part of the launch of this important research foundation, and are committed to helping support the funding of research efforts. I cannot think of anyone more fitting for the Foundation to be named after than Chuck Noll. His contribution to advancing the way sports-related injuries are diagnosed and treated is immeasurable.”


Pittsburgh Leads World in Brain Research and Concussion Treatment

PITTSBURGH LEADS WORLD IN BRAIN RESEARCH AND CONCUSSION TREATMENT

Pittsburgh…a leader in concussion research, education, and treatment.

The Pittsburgh region has quickly become recognized as one the leading areas for the study of concussions, treatments for concussions, and the educating the world on how to best deal with concussions.  The launch of the Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research will enhance that reputation even further.

Some of the important milestones in the treatment of concussion were started in Pittsburgh.

  • Chuck Noll becomes first NFL coach to challenge medical community to find a better way to measure and monitor players with concussion symptoms.
  • The ImPACT (Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Test) is developed in Pittsburgh as a critical tool to provide doctors and athletic trainers best practice benchmarks in making determinations regarding safe return to play decisions.  The NFL, NHL, and more than 8,400 high schools and colleges across the country have mandated ImPACT.
  • Seventeen years ago the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program was established in Pittsburgh, and today is considered the premiere medical facility for the assessment, management, and treatment of concussions. The facility has over 17,000 patient visits each and every year.
  •  In 2015, Pittsburgh was host to an unprecedented national gathering of the best and brightest minds in the areas of concussion research and concussion treatment. The NFL played a critical role in helping to fund the symposium.
  •  Participants at the symposium released a joint statement supporting their belief that concussions are treatable. This historic event was a critical step forward in providing uniformity in concussion treatment and shaping the next generation of concussion protocol.
  • In 2016, the Pittsburgh Steelers began hosting at Heinz Field an annual event for regional high school coaches and trainers to share best practices for the prevention, and treatment of concussions.  Participants have included Steelers trainers, former players, medical researchers, medical staff, and Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin.
  • The creation of the Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research, launched with a $1-million-dollar contribution from the Steelers ownership, is the latest addition to the Pittsburgh regions impact on concussion research and treatment. The foundation was established with a commitment to help fund promising research in the area of brain related sports injuries.

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The Latest in Brain Research and Treatment

The Latest in Brain Research and Treatment


1st annual “Chuck Noll Foundation Lecture on Sports Related Trauma”

Chuck Noll Foundation sponsors 1st annual “Chuck Noll Foundation Lecture on Sports Related Trauma” in partnership with the AANS and the CNS.

Pittsburgh, PA —April 15, 2019—The Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research today announced that it will sponsor its first annual lectureship Chuck Noll Foundation Lecture on Sports Related Trauma—-during this year’s AANS/CNS Joint Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care which will be held at the AANS Scientific Meeting on April 13-17, 2019 in San Diego, CA.

The American Association of Neurosurgeons (AANS) and the Congress of Neurosurgeons (CNS), are two of the most highly respected medical associations representing thousands of neurosurgeons world-wide, dedicated to advancing the specialty of neurosurgery and providing the highest quality care to the public.  The AANS/CNS Joint Sections are specialized groups that focus on topics and subspecialty concentrations within neurosurgery and are made up of members of both groups.

This new sponsorship was initiated by nationally renowned neurosurgeons, Dr. Julian Bailes and Dr. Joseph Maroon, members of the Chuck Noll Foundation’s National Science Advisory Committee.  Dr. Bailes is also the Chairperson of the AANS/CNS Joint Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care which will host the new Chuck Noll Foundation lecture series.

“We are so pleased to be able to work together with The Chuck Noll Foundation to offer this excellent new lecture series to our members,” said Dr. Shelly D. Timmons, MD, PhD, FACS, FAANS, President of AANS and member of the Chuck Noll Foundation National Science Advisory Committee.  “There is important ground-breaking research being conducted today in the area of traumatic brain injury by some of the best minds in our country.  It is fitting that the Chuck Noll Foundation supports the work that would have been so important to Chuck Noll.”

Dr. Maroon will be the inaugural speaker and will present his talk entitled, “Concussion and CTE—Personal Reflection and Perspective.”  Dr. Maroon, Professor and Vice Chairman, Heindl Scholar in Neuroscience Department of Neurological Surgery University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, was the first-appointed neurosurgeon in the NFL, by Chuck Noll and Dan Rooney, owner of the Steelers. He has been a pioneer in the management of concussions and spinal injuries for the past 25 years, publishing extensively in this area of science.

“Chuck Noll was not only a coach, but was also a teacher and a pioneer in sports medicine management and injuries,” said Dr. Maroon.  “He knew the importance of identifying and treating traumatic brain injury properly and it was his commitment to player safety that ultimately led to the implementation of the ImPACT test, which is now one of the primary tools for assessing return to play in all contact sports.  This lecture series will help us to continue the work that he inspired so many years ago.”

“This new lecture series is one more excellent way the Chuck Noll Foundation can pursue its mission of promoting breakthroughs in brain injury research and we are extremely fortunate to have Dr. Maroon as our inaugural speaker,” said Dr. Julian Bailes, Chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery and Co-Director of the NorthShore Neurological Institute in Chicago, Chairperson of the AANS/CNS Joint Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care, and member of the Chuck Noll Foundation’s Medical Advisory Board.  “Dr. Maroon has one of the best minds in the field of neuroscience and while much research has been accomplished in the area of concussions and traumatic brain injury, there is still much to be done and Dr. Maroon’s work is critical to this field.”

Dr. Maroon will speak on Monday, April 15th at 2:30 PM in the Scientific Session VI and will be introduced by Dr. Julian Bailes.

The Chuck Noll Foundation was established in December 2016 through a seed grant from the Pittsburgh Steelers.  Chuck Noll, for whom the Foundation is named, was the beloved head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1969-1991, earning four Super Bowl titles during his tenure.  His career culminated with his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1993. Noll’s commitment to the well-being of his players ultimately led the Steelers to initiate the start up of the Foundation in Chuck Noll’s name.