By Alicia Pike, Assistant Director of Youth Sport Safety
The 5th Annual Korey Stringer Institute Gala and Fundraiser was held this past Thursday evening, May 5th, at the NFL Headquarters. Every year we are in awe of the immense support received from colleagues, friends, and family, and this year’s Gala was no exception. The night started by greeting guests and catching up with those who traveled near and far to attend the event, but this was not just a night for socializing. After welcoming remarks from Jeff Miller, Senior Vice President of Health and Safety Policy for the NFL, guests got to hear from James Gould, Chairman of the advisory board for the Korey Stringer Institute, Jeff Seemann, Vice President for Research at the University of Connecticut, and Kelci Stringer, Founder and Spokesperson of KSI. All emphasized the impact that KSI has had on spreading knowledge and advocacy to prevent sudden death in athletes, soldiers, and laborers both locally and nationally.
We are able to achieve this mission through the immense support of passionate, motivated people, especially our corporate partners, many of whom were in attendance. It was an exciting night for the KSI staff, as two announcements were made that will undoubtedly maximize the potential for research opportunities and more. Josh Shaw, Founder and CEO of Mission Athletecare, proudly announced the building of a state of the art heat chamber and performance lab on UConn’s campus. To add to the exciting news, Scott Sailor, President of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), announced an established partnership between the NATA and KSI, which will result in collaborative research efforts and opportunities.
This was also a night of recognition. Every year, KSI acknowledges three leaders in the realms of research, service, and education who have had a significant impact on health and safety for athletes and the physically active. The 2016 KSI Lifesaving Research Award was awarded to Frederick Mueller, former Director of the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research. Through his research, he reduced the number of football fatalities and catastrophic injuries in high school and college sports. Rachael Oats, Associate Executive Director of the NATA, received the 2016 KSI Lifesaving Service Award. In addition to being a key advocate for KSI, Rachael has been involved in a vast number of projects and meetings, served on countless committees, and has volunteered hours of her time to advance health and safety initiatives and promote the prevention of sudden death in sport and physical activity. The final award, KSI Lifesaving Education Award, was presented to Lawrence Armstrong, distinguished professor in the Department of Kinesiology at UConn and President of the American College of Sports Medicine. Dr. Armstrong has dedicated years to teaching and research, primarily focused on the effects of dehydration on cognitive functioning and exercise performance, as well as factors impacting thermoregulation and physiological strain.
It was another unforgettable night spent with colleagues, friends, and family who all share and support the same passion for preventing sudden death in the physically active. To those who traveled to attend, some traveling across the country to show support, we cannot thank you enough. It is your continued encouragement, advocacy and support that allow KSI to grow, thrive and save lives.