2012 Brain Blitz Gala - Report by Kate Crowley
Beautiful green and red lights lit up the elegantly decorated Grand Salon at Saskatoon's TCU Place for the annual Brain Blitz Gala on April 28th, 2012.
Keynote speaker and Hockey Legend, Ken Dryden, made his second Brain Blitz appearance that weekend at the Saskatoon Gala, after taking part in the Brain Blitz Round Table the day before in Regina.
Notable people in attendance were Minister of Advanced Education Rob Norris, MLA for the Saskatoon Centre, David Forbes, Jack Brodsky from the Saskatoon Blades and Saskatoon Mayor, Don Atchinson. They all had interest in the issue and shared their stories.
Saskatoon Mayor, Don Atchinson, told a story from his childhood where he was embarrassed of his dad making him wear a face mask. "Often times people need to think differently," Atchinson said about the current brain injury problem in sports.
Like Dryden, Atchinson believes in 20 years people will likely look back and say 'I can't believe they played sports like that!'" similar to the way we now look back and say," I can't believe people once thought it was ok to drive around while talking on their cell phones."
Cynthia Block, Brain Blitz Committee Chair, and a board member of the Saskatchewan Brain Injury Association Board of Directors, acknowledged our sponsors, for without their suppot we could not make a difference in our community.
Sponsors including SBIA's partner, BHP Billiton, also spoke at the event, acknowledging the concussion epidemic in sports.
"There is no other reason to hit a player in the head other than to injure them. Fans commit to expressions of intensity and that is almost never the head shot," said Dryden to an audience with many heads nodding in agreement.
The audience had a chance to ask questions towards the end of the night and bid on the Gala auction items- which included artwork, gift certificates and a 30 minute live music performance from Ellen Kolenick to name a few.
Although most questions from the audience were hockey related, Dryden did a fantastic job of encompassing a variety of sports in the discussion. Hopson said in conversation to Dryden- "Ken, you really are a sports fan, not just hockey."
Dryden truly believes that discussion, and changing cultural attitudes ingrained in coaches and players will bring change to the problem of brain injuries occurring in sports.
"If anyone says this is something you can't change, they're wrong," Dryden passionately insists.
A big thanks goes out to the fabulous committee that made it all happen!