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Gene Upshaw fund donating money for concussion research

Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The Gene Upshaw Memorial Fund donated $180,557 in 2014 to further the Tahoe Institute for Rural Health Research’s pursuit to invent a device that accurately diagnoses concussions.

Since launching the fund in 2009, $323,544 has been directed specifically for traumatic brain injury research with the Tahoe Institute for Rural Health Research. Most of the money is raised through the Gene Upshaw Memorial Golf Classic conducted in July.

Upshaw, a National Football League Hall of Famer and former NFL Players Association executive director, died of pancreatic cancer in 2008 at Tahoe Forest Hospital. Upshaw’s wife, Terri, and sons Justin and Daniel established the fund because of the exceptional care he received at the hospital.

More than $825,000 has been raised since the inaugural golf classic in 2009. Funds have also supported the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center, pancreatic cancer research, Tahoe Forest Hospital Innovations Fund and Hospice programs at Tahoe Forest Hospital.

More than $825,000 has been raised since the inaugural golf classic in 2009. Funds have also supported the Gene Upshaw Memorial Tahoe Forest Cancer Center, pancreatic cancer research, Tahoe Forest Hospital Innovations Fund and Hospice programs at Tahoe Forest Hospital.

Led by founding director Thomas D. Hobday, the Tahoe Institute for Rural Health Research began work on developing a concussion-testing mechanism three years ago.

Hobday and his team of researchers are determined to replace the standard subjective computerized testing programs such as ImPACT with an objective mechanism for determining when a concussion has occurred and when it has healed

Research has determined that traumatic brain injuries typically occur when athletes come back to the field before the brain has healed or returned to its baseline and suffer subsequent brain trauma.

Researchers envision the device as a low-cost, compact, portable unit that will be able to determine injury severity within 10 minutes.

To further evaluate their testing device and gather more data for their research, the institute is testing student-athletes at Truckee High School and Feather River College, as well as Squaw Valley, Sugar Bowl and Northstar ski teams, during their 2014-15 sports seasons.

The institute’s TBI research started five years ago following a conference of neurologists, doctors and scientists from Tahoe Forest Hospital and UC Davis.

There, Nolan Harrison, the NFLPA’s senior director of former players services, challenged the doctors and scientists to discover an objective way to determine when concussions occur and when the brain has healed afterward.

This year, NFL Hall of Famers, former Major League Baseball players and other sports celebrities will gather July 12-13 to once again pay tribute to the former Oakland Raider at the 7th annual Gene Upshaw Memorial Golf Classic, at the event’s new host site, Schaffer’s Mill Golf & Lake Club in Truckee.

Celebrity commitments to-date also include NFL Hall of Famers Mike Haynes and Tim Brown (who will be officially inducted to the hall of fame in August), along with former Raiders head coach Tom Flores and former NFL players Raymond Chester, Herm Edwards, Sam McCullum and Clinton Portis, plus Cy Young and American League MVP winner Vida Blue, former San Francisco Giants first baseman J.T. Snow, and pitcher Shawn Estes.

Joining sports celebrities this year will be actor Kevin Sorbo of “Hercules: The Legendary Journals,” and actress Debbe Dunning of “Home Improvement” fame.

This article was submitted to the Sun by Weidinger Public Relations. Visit gu63.org/ to learn more about this year’s tournament.


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