Archive for February, 2017

Global Brain Health Coalition summit

Global Brain Health Coalition summit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global Brain Health Coalition (GBHC)

I had the privilege of participating as a panel speaker for the Global Brain Health Coalitions’ (GBHC) 4th Annual event which focused on Military and Veteran Brain health. The Brain Health Summit is held annually, since 2013, in tandem with Leigh Steinberg’s Annual Super Bowl Party which occurs immediately after the summits completion.

What is the GBHC?

It was founded in 2012 to bring together key stakeholders and thought leaders from throughout the brain health ecosystem – specific to Traumatic Brain Injury and other neurological disorders – to disseminate awareness and ways to promote and improve the most holistic science, technology and education in brain health. As part of the Brain Treatment Foundation, the mission of GBHC is, to become the leading global voice for brain health awareness and empowerment by converging science, clinical research and impact. GBHC serves as a platform to spread awareness about brain health and fosters the critical discussions and partnerships needed to enhance research, treatment efforts, and prevention through a global campaign uniting people who are passionate about the cause.

The Discussion Panel

MAJ Tyson Baynes – Army physician assistant (PA) who spent 2015 with the San Francisco 49ers’. During this time, he partnered with other medical providers to work with the NFL to research and develop best practices regarding concussions and musculoskeletal injuries and the procedures used by the team to diagnose, treat and rehabilitate players from such injuries. Afterwards, MAJ Baynes took a position in the Surgeon General’s office in Falls Church, VA.

Dr. Beth McQuiston, M.D. – Abbott Laboratories Medical Director & certified Neurologist. Her current areas of focus include research into biomarkers for use in traumatic brain injury, including concussions. A licensed physician, Dr. McQuiston is a member of the TBI Endpoints Development (TED) Initiative, and is on the executive committee for the Center for Nutrition Learning and Memory.

Dr. Elisabeth (Lisa) Wilde – She has been faculty at Baylor College of Medicine since 2002 in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, where she currently serves as Director of Research. She has secondary appointments in Neurology and Radiology, and is also a Health Research Scientist at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center. She has participated in over 30 federally-funded clinical projects as a primary or co-primary investigator or co-investigator, and has authored over 85 peer-reviewed publications

Joe Wesley (that’s me)- Since 2007 Mr. Wesley has been involved with the NFLPA Former Players Houston Chapter, and in 2015 he became the Chapter President. The Houston organization allows Former NFL Players, of all eras, to connect or reconnect with their brothers, network and share business resources. The organization functions primarily to educate and connect players to benefits, resources and services provided by Former NFL Players Department. In 2016, Houston won the NFLPA Former Players Chapter of the year. In addition to his vast community service to Former NFL Players and Houston Community, Mr. Wesley, is employed as an Area Health Safety and Environmental Manager at Jacobs engineering, and is a motivational public speaker.

My Panelist Experience

My role in the discussion was to help the audience understand the commonalities between the struggles NFL Athletes face when transitioning out of the game to the challenges Military personnel face when transitioning out of active duty. I really have to thank Tyson. We were like doubles tennis players.

He would set me up with the serve and I would hit the volley. Then I hit it back to him for the ace. Tyson if you are reading this, call me any time to talk on a panel with you.

Sitting down on stage in front of a large crowd is vastly different than standing in front of a large crowd. If you make a mistake or lose your thought it is easily camouflaged by moving around or walking into the audience.

But sitting down is a whole different game because the audience is looking to you the entire time to answer questions and carry the conversation. Mentally I had to consciously tell myself to relax and speak naturally.. Although the room as I estimated was filled with about 200 people it felt like one million.

To add to it there were cameramen kneeling down in front of us. Then right at the start a guy in far back, like a movie extra, yelled out “Be sure to speak into the mic so we can hear back here”.

When it was my turn to speak I literally felt the eyes of the entire room were on me. In some ways it was like playing a football game in front of a crowd at Tiger Stadium (LSU). Every time the crowd would cheer after a big play I felt energized and somehow endowed with special superhero ability to take my performance level up a notch. I wanted to get that same rush from this audience.

My first few comments were really serious and thought provoking but as I continued I heard my inner voice telling me to “make the big play, say something funny.” I waited till my second speaking opportunity came then I ever so simply said a comical remark.

The crowd erupted in a breath of laughter then just as quickly as they laughed they settled down and were back in serious focus mode. It would have been the worst if nobody laughed and all I got was crickets! But they laughed.

As the discussion went forward I began to imagine the crowd as one individual. I began to actually sense what the crowd was feeling and thinking. I sensed complete engagement from the audience and that we as a panel had their attention 100%.

I looked over at my co-panelist and they seemed to be relaxed and in control. As each person took their turn answering questions I was impressed. It seemed like everyone had stayed up all night studying for this discussion quiz. The answers seemed to flow out flawlessly. I said to myself “They are good!”

The Tough Questions

In my observation the most terrifying part of discussion panels are the questions. It seems no matter how much you understand about the topic of discussion that one hard tough question will hit you right in the gut like a punch from Iron Mike Tyson. Boof! Pow!

Well we were asked two such questions. When those questions were asked it was as if you could see the crowd thinking “How are they going to answer this”?

As one particular question was asked we as panelist were stumped momentary. I think we were all saying within ourselves who is the right person to respond.

That question was asked by a fellow Former NFL Player. So as he spoke I tried to place myself in his shoes by asking myself “If I was him what response would make me feel as if this guy really heard me?”

In the serious discussions, sometimes as athletes we are not listened to but just heard. I felt it was important to speak to his question in such a way that he knew I was listening. As I gave my response to his question and concern I could see his posture and demeanor change. I took that as feedback from him that I was able communicate to the points he wanted addressed.

At the end, the experience was great and I really enjoyed it. I look forward to doing more these in the future.

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