Patrick Risha CTE Awareness Foundation
CTE is a MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS we can PREVENT!
CTE is an acronym for Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy. It is a progressive brain disease which is believed to be caused by repeated blows to the head. This insidious disease slowly and painfully destroys your brain. And it destroys the person in the process. Sadly today on midget, middle school, high school, and college fields everywhere in this country, aspiring young athletes are training and practicing and playing, so often oblivious to the danger they face. This danger is all too real to those of us that loved and lost Patrick in September, 2014. His autopsy revealed widespread CTE. He was an All-Conference running back at Elizabeth Forward High School, a star post-graduate at Deerfield Academy, and a dedicated teammate at Dartmouth College. Patrick never played professional football. But throughout high school, prep school and college, this tough young running back received enough blows to the head to essentially seal his fate. Patrick developed CTE.
One mission of the Patrick Risha CTE Awareness Foundation is to provide parents of school age children (who have very susceptible brains) with information about the dangers of sports which involve head trauma. Football is at the top of the list, and pretty much involves players repeatedly taking hits to the head. But the list is long, from bull riding to cheerleading and beyond. And sadly our brave military service members are coming home with the disease in alarming numbers.
None of us knew back then what we NEED to know today. The human brain is not designed to smack around the inside of the skull. Particularly in young people, helmets do not protect the athlete from CTE.
Sadly Patrick suffered, undiagnosed and misunderstood for many years until taking his own life (a common CTE symptom). He left behind a son he adored, and a grieving family and community. This foundation seeks to save every beautiful mind, like Patrick’s, and to give families and caregivers the chance to understand what is happening if they are confronted with this horrific disease.
We hope that our efforts will help enable parents to make informed choices and prevent the sure sadness that comes from watching a bright mind literally become unwired. We hope institutions and organizations start adopting practices to protect the brains of their students, employees, and community.
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