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Toronto (May 28, 2014) - At a special event hosted at the newly built Krembil Discovery Tower on May 28, Dr. Charles Tator, world-renowned concussion researcher, announced the establishment of The Marion and Gerald Soloway Chair in Brain Injury and Concussion Research – the first of its kind in Canada.
"I am honoured that Marion and Gerard made this extraordinary gift that will significantly advance our groundbreaking research into concussions; a serious medical event of which we are just beginning to understand the full ramifications," said Dr. Tator. "We now know that multiple concussions can have long term repercussions on the individual including a brain condition called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) that resembles Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease."
The Soloway's contributed $2 million to create the endowed Chair in honour of their lifelong friend, Dr. Tator, with the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation committed to raise an additional $2 million from additional fundraising. $1 million has been raised thus far. The Chair will serve as a recruitment tool in seeking an individual to continue the legacy of Dr. Tator in brain injury and concussion research.
"Charles is the country's preeminent expert in the field of brain and spinal cord injury," said Mr. Soloway. "His name has become familiar to all Canadians who tune into Hockey Night in Canada each week, as the topic of concussions in stars like Sidney Crosby and other professional athletes gains more attention. Marion and I believe that it is vital to continue to build on the momentum of his discoveries in concussion research; for the benefit of everyone."
The Marion and Gerald Soloway Chair is the centrepiece of the Canadian Sports Concussion Project (CSCP), established by Dr. Tator to develop effective preventative, diagnostic and treatment tools to address the growing problems of CTE, and other consequences of concussion. Based at the Krembil Neuroscience Centre, the CSCP is unique in North America and brings together experts in brain injuries, imaging, neuropsychology, neuropathology, genetics, clinical care, computational engineering and psychiatry.
The CSCP, a $25 million, 10-year initiative, has also partnered with notable members of the Toronto business and professional sports communities to help guide the project, including the Hon. Ken Dryden, Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame and former MP and Matt Dunigan, retired CFL quarterback and 1987 and 1991 Grey Cup Champion.
As one component of the project, researchers are collecting the brains of deceased CFL players, to examine them for signs of CTE. To date six former CFL players have donated their brains. In May, 2013, CSCP researchers published a report in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience based on the findings from the first six autopsied brains, with support and consent from the players' families. Three of the six players had acquired CTE, and the other three had the pathological changes of Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease and ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease.
More recently, in July 2013, Dr. Tator published the latest in concussion diagnosis and clinical care best practice guidelines in the Canada Medical Association Journal that will guide the medical community across the Canada in treating concussions.
Watch this video to hear CFL Hall of Famer Matt Dunigan, now a TSN analyst, share his story about concussions and find out why he's donating his brain to Dr. Charles Tator and the Canadian Sports Concussion Project: http://youtu.be/i5I5K6V28BA.
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