I have several things to give updates about in this edition of my blog. I completed my first semester of college at Princeton University and have loved my experience so far. The learning environment is incredible, the campus is beautiful, and the people are amazing. When I speak about my work to promote concussion awareness, my fellow students are extremely attentive and show that they care about having safer sporting environments. I am a proud member of the Princeton Men’s Club Soccer Team and continue to play the sport that I love in a safe and responsible way. I still wear a rugby helmet and mouth-guard when I participate in athletics, for I want to protect my head as much as possible.
The good news does not stop with my start to college: Countywide Concussion Care has experienced great progress lately. The Countywide Concussion Care name and logo are now officially trademarked intellectual property. Countywide Concussion Care has entered into a licensing agreement with the University of Miami Sports Concussion Clinic. This ensures that UM’s program in the Miami-Dade County area will continue to be marketed under the Countywide Concussion Care name for the foreseeable future. It also creates the possibility that interested people around the country who would like to promote concussion awareness, treatment and prevention can license the Countywide Concussion Care name and logo from me to apply to their own geographical area. If anyone is interested, please contact me via this web site.
I feel as though a quick update is due from me. The Miami Dade Countywide Concussion Care Program continues to support concussion prevention and treatment and has the foundation to do so for the foreseeable future. I have continued to help peers recover from their concussions and spread the word about concussion awareness to teachers, coaches, students, athletes, and parents. Though my summer has been a relaxing one, concussion awareness is always on my mind, and I look forward to doing more to further the cause in the near future.
I am very honored and proud to say that I have received the 2013 Silver Knight in Athletics for Miami Dade County! This prestigious award is given annually to a high school senior who has demonstrated excellence in his or her category, academics, and community service. As I was announced as the winner, the packed auditorium joined together in a thunderous applause, congratulating me on all I have done in the name of spreading concussion awareness and education. That ovation and the award gave me a profound sense of achievement and I am extremely grateful that my community respects the work that I have done.
2012 was an amazing year for increasing concussion awareness nationwide. Over the past year, a vast amount of research has been published that has woken up America to the dangers of concussions. Concussions are in the news now more than ever, which has served to educate the public about the need to take proper precautions when dealing with head injuries.
In Florida, meanwhile, the effort to pass youth concussion legislation was successful after over a year of tireless work. 2013 and the years to come will be safer years for Florida youth athletes thanks to this law. In Miami-Dade County, the ImPACT testing program that Countywide Concussion Care enabled has been a tremendous success. High school athletes in public high schools have greatly benefitted from having a greater awareness of concussions and being under the care of proper medical professionals. The program has become firmly established in the Miami-Dade County public high school athletic system. It will continue to provide testing and a support system for Miami-Dade public school athletes into the future. Broward County also agreed to implement a countywide baseline testing program for its high school athletes.
As for me, I am ecstatic that I am able to write all that I have just written above. I know that I have come so far from when I was a high school freshmen, doing all that I could to get through each day with my third concussion. Never would I have thought that I would have spread concussion awareness the way that I have. However, I am not satisfied, for there is more to be done and more athletes, coaches, trainers, and parents that need concussion education. In 2013, I will continue to do what I can to teach people about the dangers of concussions and how to avoid them. I wish everyone a healthy, happy, and concussion-free new year. Please write and let me know about your experiences with concussions and any interest you may have in helping to spread the word about concussion awareness, prevention, testing or legislation.
Today, the two and a half year long effort to pass youth athlete concussion legislation in Florida came to a close in an amazing ceremony at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis. Governor Rick Scott came all the way down from Tallahassee to sign the bill into law. Many distinguished speakers (including State Senator and bill sponsor Anitere Flores, President of the University of Miami Donna Shalala, and President of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis Marc Buonoconti) discussed the bill and complimented me for pushing the legislative effort forward. I also spoke at this spectacular event about my experience with concussions and the work to spread concussion awareness. All in attendance, including family and friends, granted me great praise. I also thanked Senator Flores, Representative Doc Renuart, Nelson Diaz, and Lindy Kennedy for the hard work and time they put into making this legislative effort successful. Overall, today marked a special day to recognize the end of a long journey and to celebrate the passing of legislation that will protect Florida youth athletes.
Looking ahead, I hope to continue to be a voice for concussion education. I will work on fortifying the county-wide concussion program that I have established and will continue to speak out about the dangers of concussions within my local community. I also look forward to persuading more local private schools to adopt concussion education and management including baseline concussion testing. I am also interested in speaking on behalf on new concussion awareness education initiatives locally, on the state level, or nationally. As the dangers of concussions continue to more frequently grab news headlines, I want to continue to do what I can to educate others about these dangers and be part of efforts to reduce these dangers. Today marked a major milestone in my journey, but my work is not done.
The Youth Concussion Legislation has officially been signed into law by Florida Governor Rick Scott! The dream of spreading youth concussion education and management has now officially become a reality! All obstacles have been overcome, and everyone involved in Florida youth athletics should celebrate! A new era of player safety has now begun in Florida, and hopefully the passing of this legislation will inspire further efforts and legislation aimed at making the youth athletic environment safer throughout counties, states, and the entire nation. Thank you for all of the support and encouragement that I have received, and I hope to report more good news in the near future!