Dr. Richard G. Ellenbogen, Brain Injury Association of Washington Key Advocate Named Co-Chair of NFL Head, Neck & Spine Medical Committee

Friday, March 19, 2010 General News
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SEATTLE, March 18 Dr. Richard G. Ellenbogen of the University of Washington School of Medicine and Dr. Hunt Batjer of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine have been named the new co-chairs of the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Medical Committee, Commissioner Roger Goodell announced today.

Drs. Batjer and Ellenbogen are each the professor and chairman of the department of neurological surgery at their respective medical schools.

Commissioner Goodell also announced that Dr. Mitchell Berger, chairman of the department of neurological surgery at the University of California-San Francisco School of Medicine, has agreed to serve on the committee (formerly known as the NFL Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Committee).

Dr Richard Ellenbogen, is a long-term and leading stakeholder of the Brain Injury Association of Washington (BIAWA). He was honored this past November as the Honorary Co-Chair of our Gala and Auction I recognition of his important role as a key alley to Richard H. Adler, President of the BIAWA, and advocate for the "Zackery Lystedt Law", the first state law requiring medical clearance for a young athlete suffering a concussion. With Dr. Ellenbogen's help and support, key partners joined BIAWA's legislative advocacy coalition including Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington Medical, and Seattle Children's Hospital.

According to Richard H. Adler, President of the BIAWA Executive Committee, "When the Lystedt Law was passed Dr. Ellenbogen hailed this law as the "most enlightened law in protecting youth athletes and preventing preventable brain injuries". His extensive knowledge, commitment and leadership will be a valuable asset to the NFL as they move forward with this important committee development. The BIAWA offers their sincere congratulations to Dr. Ellenbogen on this vital appointment."

"In the NFL's ongoing commitment to the health, safety and well-being of our players, they conducted an extensive search to find the new leaders of our committee and are extremely pleased that Dr. Batjer and Dr. Ellenbogen have agreed to lead the team," Commissioner Goodell said. "Along with Dr. Berger, these doctors are renowned experts in the field of head and spine injury and they will strengthen our leadership role in research, education, prevention, and treatment of these injuries in sports. I personally interviewed all three doctors and was enormously impressed by their knowledge, experience, and passion for working with us."

Drs. Ellenbogen and Batjer will be responsible for appointing other members of the committee.

The mission of the NFL HNS Committee is multi-faceted:

Dr. Ellenbogen, UW Medicine Professor and Theodore S. Roberts Endowed Chair of Neurological Surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine, chief of neurological surgery at Harborview Medical Center, and attending neurosurgeon at Seattle Children's. He is past president of the Congress of Neurological Surgeons and currently an officer with the American Society of Pediatric Neurological Surgeons. He is also co-director of the Seattle Sports Concussion Program He was formerly chief of neurosurgery and residency program director at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., was deployed with the XVIII Airborne Corp in Desert Storm and was awarded a Bronze Star for his work with head injured soldiers.

Dr. Ellenbogen is a graduate of Brown University, the Brown University Medical School, and was trained in neurosurgery at the Brigham/ Children's/Harvard Medical School program.

"I am humbled and honored to be participating in a program by the NFL that recognizes the widespread problem of concussion, which occurs in a wide spectrum of our population, from student-athletes to soldiers to professional athletes," Dr. Ellenbogen said. "I hope through our actions, research and advocacy, we can improve the prevention and treatment of this public health issue for athletes in all sports and at all levels of play."

Portions of this press release were compiled from NFL Press Release of 3/16/2010

-- Ensure that NFL team medical staffs have access to the best technology and research on the prevention and treatment of head, neck and spine injuries. -- Study injury data and equipment research to assist the NFL, its teams and its players in providing the safest environment for minimizing injuries to the head, neck and spine. -- Examine the latest treatment strategies and recommend to club medical staffs and players the best practices regarding treatment of injuries to the head, neck and spine. -- Join with the NFL Alumni Association to expand on existing programs such as the 88 Plan and support additional research on the long term impact of concussions and related injuries. -- Encourage and support research and education to increase public awareness about head, neck and spine injuries, their prevention and treatment.

SOURCE The Brain Injury Association of Washington

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