Teaming Up to Reduce Childhood Concussions – PUCCS

Teaming Up to Reduce Childhood Concussions – PUCCS is Raising Awareness through Fun, Funding and Partnerships

By Anne McCooey

Teaming up for Concussion Awareness 1“Community outreach” is what staff and volunteers of PUCCS (Program for Understanding Childhood Concussion and Stroke) focus on daily. Pediatric neurosurgeon, Dr. Renee Reynolds, and Vice President of PUCCS board of directors, says, “Going out into the community to share what research reveals about identifying concussions, successful treatment strategies and long- term impacts of repetitive injuries is critical if we want to prevent life-altering and life-ending injuries.”

PUCCS was established in 2011 in response to the growing number of young sports-related concussion patients seeking treatment. The organization provides tools, information and resources help raise community awareness to prevent concussion injuries in all sports. Primarily a volunteer organization, PUCCS forms strategic partnerships to get the job done. From educational programming to fundraising, PUCCS is all about partnerships.

One of newest PUCCS partnership involves working with UB medical students. With over 60 medical school students interested in helping deliver concussion information, this army of “Head Smart” volunteers are part of the PUCCS speakers bureau program and represent the organization at events and health fairs. This outreach program is funded by the Dream Big Foundation, established to honor the memory of former Buffalo Sabre Steve Montador, who struggled with serious long term effects of multiple concussive injuries.

PUCCS is also partnering with Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo (WCHOB) Foundation and Kohl’s to promote sports health, which includes a website dedicated to concussions, as well as the importance of hydration and stretching for athletes (www.wnysportshealth.com). Safe Kids WNY coalition, another partner, is a national program to prevent childhood injuries. PUCCS also works with multiple medical practices to cross promote resources available throughout the region. All of these organizations have made it possible for PUCCS to merge mission with money in its fundraising efforts.

An upcoming PUCCS annual hockey tournament on July 23-24 is a great example of a partnership between players wanting to feel like a pro for a weekend on the ice at HarborCenter and companies who want to support PUCCS’ efforts. Limited to just eight teams, the event combines fun, skill and the cameraderie that team sports provide.

On August 6-7, PUCCS will partner with GObike Buffalo and the Niagara Frontier Bicycle Club for the CanAm Century Ride Weekend. The weekend includes unique urban or suburban rides on Saturday, a pre-race packet pickup party, and a choice of a 35, 62 or 100-mile ride. The longer rides take riders along the Canadian side of the Niagara River and back along the U.S. side. PUCCS founder and board president, Dr. Elad Levy will be riding the 100 mile course. Visit www.canamride.com for more information.

Later this Fall, MassMutual will present an evening of fun and fundraising for PUCCS. Last year the gala’s mission auction supported PUCCS first direct patient service program. Funds raised provided gas gift cards for families with children being treated at WCHOB for traumatic brain injuries, a program managed by Dr. Reynolds and the neurosurgery team at WCHOB.

About the Author:
Anne McCooey is the Executive Director of PUCCS. Learn more about PUCCS programs, events and volunteer opportunities at www.puccs.org, amccooey@puccs.org or 716-320-1HIT.