Concussion Awareness Day at Trinity College Scheduled for Tuesday, February 16

Neuroscience Program Hosts Lecture, Film Screening, and Panel Discussion

Hartford, Connecticut, February 15, 2016 – The Trinity College Neuroscience Program is inviting the campus community and the public to its Concussion Awareness Day on Tuesday, February 16. The event will begin with a lecture by Dr. John DiFiori of UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, followed in the evening by a screening of the documentary film Head Games and a panel discussion including Casey Cochran. 

Concussion Awareness Day will begin at 12:15 p.m. in the McCook auditorium with DiFiori’s talk, “The Vulnerable Window in Concussion: A Challenge in Determining Safe Return to Play.” DiFiori is a professor of family medicine at UCLA and chief of the Division of Sports Medicine and Non-Operative Orthopaedics, as well as the NBA director of sports medicine. He was recently named head team physician of the UCLA Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. DiFiori is the parent of Trinity student and neuroscience major Monica DiFiori ’16.

The event will continue at 6 p.m. in the Life Sciences Center auditorium, with a screening of the 2012 film Head Games. The documentary follows football player and pro-wrestler Chris Nowinski’s quest to uncover the truth about the consequences of sports-related head injuries. The film will be followed by a panel discussion featuring retired University of Connecticut football player and concussion survivor Casey Cochran. The panel will also feature Deb Shulansky, JD, CBIS, director of community outreach and support for the Brain Injury Alliance of Connecticut, and Trinity student Arleigha Cook ’16.

Cook, the student coordinator of the event, began her Trinity career on the women’s soccer team before experiencing her fourth concussion mid-way through the season. She was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome and – with the help of the director of Trinity’s Neuroscience Program, Sarah Raskin, Charles A. Dana Research Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience – began to form a support group at Trinity for student athletes who had experienced concussions. The goal of their work is to raise awareness among student athletes of the severity of concussion aftermath. “The best way to teach young people is to tell your story,” Cook said about the impact she hopes Tuesday’s panel discussion will have. The event strives to take preventative measures by educating students and young athletes about the possible consequences that can result from concussions and other brain injuries.

Concussion Awareness Day invites attendance by Trinity students as well as others from the greater community at a time when discussion about traumatic brain injuries is on the rise. In popular culture, the 2015 movie Concussion, starring Will Smith, highlights the harmful effects that concussions have on athletes not only at the time of the injury, but also later in their lives. Concussion Awareness Day strives to spotlight these issues through the work of experienced profes-sionals and interactive discussions with concussion survivors.

The Neuroscience Program is celebrating its 25th year at Trinity, priding itself on being one of the first programs of its kind at an undergraduate liberal arts institution. The program combines the studies of biology, chemistry, philosophy, -psychology, and engineering to provide an experience dedicated to on-campus coursework as well as research opportunities through resources such as the nearby Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center at Hartford’s Institute of Living.

For directions and a map of the Trinity College campus, please click here.

Written by Liz A. Boyhan ’18