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March 2014

Two Organizations that Battle Sports Concussions to be Honored with Santa Clara University’s ETHOS Award for Ethics in Sport

Santa Clara University’s Institute of Sports Law and Ethics (ISLE) will award its second-annual ETHOS Award for Ethics in Sports to two organizations that are using science and persuasion to battle sports-related brain trauma.
Retired 49ers player Brent Jones, 49ers legal director Hannah Gordon, University of the Pacific's Ted Leland, to present award May 6  
SANTA CLARA, Calif., March 19, 2014—Santa Clara University’s Institute of Sports Law and Ethics (ISLE) will award its second-annual ETHOS Award for Ethics in Sports to two organizations that are using science and persuasion to battle the epidemic of crippling, sports-related brain trauma. 
The 2014 ETHOS Award will be presented to the Sports Legacy Institute (SLI) and the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy (BU CSTE), two pioneering organizations raising awareness of concussions and providing advanced research and advocacy to effect major, positive changes in the field of sports medicine and injury prevention. 
Three individuals who are the founders and forces behind SLI and BU CSTE will accept the award:
*Dr. Robert Cantu, world-renowned neurosurgeon and concussion expert; co-founder and medical director of SLI, co-founder and co-director of BU CSTE; clinical professor of neurology and neurosurgery at the Boston University School of Medicine; author of first return-to-play guidelines after a concussion, and author of the recent book Concussions and Our Kids.
*Dr. Ann McKee, co-founder and co-director of the BU CSTE and professor of neurology and pathology at BU School of Medicine and chief of the neuropathology service for the New England Veterans Administration Medical Centers. She has performed groundbreaking research on over 100 brains of deceased athletes who have suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy. 
*Chris Nowinski, co-founder and executive director of SLI, co-founder and co-director of BU CSTE; a former Harvard University football player and WWE professional wrestler who was forced to retire from post-concussion syndrome; author of Head Games, which was turned into a documentary of the same name and helped bring the dangers of sports concussions to public attention.
“We are honored to receive this award that shares our lifetime focus of making sports more ethical and safe,” said Cantu, who spoke at ISLE’s 2013 Symposium. 
The $5,000 award will be presented at a 7 p.m. dinner at Santa Clara University’s Adobe Lodge on May 6. Representatives of major Bay Area sports organizations -- including the Warriors, Sharks, Earthquakes and A's -- are expected to attend the event.  Interested media may attend by RSVP’ing to Deborah Lohse of SCU Media Relations ( 
 “These organizations' founders have devoted their enormous personal talents to a cause greater than themselves,” said Kirk Hanson, executive director of Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and a board member of ISLE. “We honor them for fighting on many fronts to protect the long-term health and future quality of life of America’s athletes.” 
The ETHOS prize is an annual award honoring a decision, action, initiative, or program that has contributed to the ethics of sport in the United States. “Ethics of sport” refers to the adherence to rules and practices or structures that promote fair opportunity for all competitors, a concern for safety of all participants, and a focus on the positive impact of sport on American life and on the moral formation of all participants.
“With these organizations leading the charge to improve how we understand the impact of athletic performance on the human body, competitive athletics in the future will provide much safer playing conditions for athletes at every level,” said Dan Coonan, SCU’s athletic director and a co-founder of ISLE.
“We look forward to celebrating with these excellent honorees and continuing to benefit from their expertise in concussion mitigation and research,” added Lisa Kloppenberg, dean of Santa Clara University School of Law. 
Nominations for future recipients of the ETHOS Award may be made to the executive director of ISLE by emailing
About the Institute of Sports Law and Ethics
The Institute of Sports Law and Ethics was founded by the Santa Clara School of Law, SCU Athletic Department, and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Its 25-member board includes distinguished athletes and sports executives. The institute’s signature event is an annual Symposium on Sports Law and Ethics in September, covering subjects such as concussions, steroids, amateurism, and the commercial use of athletes’ images. In 2012 ISLE added a community outreach component, established the ETHOS Award, and created a task force to study amateurism. For more information see
About the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy
The BU CSTE was created in 2008 as a partnership between SLI, Boston University, and the Department of Veterans Affairs, and conducts cutting-edge clinical and pathological research on the long-term effects of repetitive brain trauma, with a focus on the degenerative brain disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Earlier this year it was brought under the umbrella of the BU Alzheimer's Disease Center and is now known as the CTE Center at BU. For more information, visit
About the Sports Legacy Institute
The Sports Legacy Institute (SLI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located in Waltham, Mass. It was founded in 2007 by Dr. Robert Cantu and Christopher Nowinski to “solve the concussion crisis” by advancing the study, treatment, and prevention of the effects of brain trauma in athletes and other at-risk groups. SLI is a collaborator with the CTE Center at Boston University. For more information, please visit
About Santa Clara University School of Law
Santa Clara University School of Law, founded in 1911 on the site of California’s oldest operating higher-education institution, is dedicated to educating lawyers who lead with a commitment to excellence, ethics, and social justice. One of the nation’s most diverse law schools, Santa Clara Law offers its 860 students an academically rigorous program, including graduate degrees in international law and intellectual property law; combined J.D./MBA degree; and certificates in intellectual property law, international law, and public interest and social justice law. Santa Clara Law is located in the world-class business center of Silicon Valley, and is distinguished nationally for our top-ranked program in intellectual property. For more information, see
Media Contacts
Deborah Lohse | SCU Media Relations | | 408-554-5121
Chelsea McLeod | Communications Manager, SLI | | 781-262-3324  
Sports Legacy Institute,Robert Cantu,ISLE