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The Ivy League to be Honored by Sports Legacy Institute

The Ivy League to be Honored by Sports Legacy Institute

BOSTON -- The Ivy League will be honored by the Sports Legacy Institute on Wednesday night when it receives SLI's 2012 Impact Award for the League's proactive stance on concussions. The awards dinner will be held at the Boston Harbor Hotel.

“The Ivy League has distinguished itself as the first and, as of yet, only conference in the nation to begin reforming contact sports in light of new traumatic brain injury research,” according to the Institute. “The Ivy League has led by passing strict concussion policies & limiting full-contact practices. The Sports Legacy Institute applauds their efforts to keep their student-athletes safe.”

“We are honored that the Sports Legacy Institute, an organization that has done so much in its own right to address important safety issues related to concussions, has chosen to recognize the Ivy League for our work in trying to make college athletics safer,” said Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris. “Our presidents have been focused on this critical student-athlete welfare issue for several years.  With their leadership and direction, as well as the work of the many individuals involved in our various reviews, the Ivy League is committed to taking an active leadership role in protecting our student-athletes from concussions, including through appropriate modifications to practices, teaching of proper technique, education of risks and symptoms, and scientific study.”

SLI, a non-profit organization, was founded by Christopher Nowinski and Dr. Robert Cantu, and is dedicated to solving the concussion crisis in sports and the military through medical research, treatment, and education and prevention

Previous Impact Award winners include the National Football League, accepted by Commissioner Roger Goodell, former New England Patriot Ted Johnson, former NHL player Keith Primeau, Professional Boxer & World Boxing Union Champion Micky Ward, Captain William B. Reynolds (ret.), Boston University Center for the Study of Tramatic Encephalopathy Co-Director Ann McKee, & former New England Patriot Kevin Turner.

The Ivy League first took proactive measures in the sport of football during the summer of 2011, limiting full-contact practices to twice a week during the regular season -- a 60 percent reduction from NCAA rules.  This modification was part of a package of changes that followed a year-long review under the direction of the Ivy League presidents and a concussion committee chaired by two of the presidents, and included administrators, expert consultants, head football coaches, team physicians and athletic trainers. The League also adopted additional full-contact reductions for preseason and spring practices and emphasized the need to educate student-athletes on proper tackling technique, the signs and symptoms of concussion, and the potential short- and long-term ramifications of repetitive brain trauma. In addition, the League implemented a more stringent postgame review of helmet-to-helmet and targeted hits.

This past summer, the Ivy League approved a series of concussion recommendations in men's and women's lacrosse and men's and women's soccer. The League is also in the process of finalizing a similar review in men's and women's ice hockey, and it is expected that the presidents will consider those recommendations in December.

Additionally, in June 2012, the Ivy League announced a collaboration with the Big Ten Conference, in conjunction with the Big Ten Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), to engage in a co-sponsored, cross-institutional research collaboration to study the effects of head injuries in sports, continuing efforts dating back more than two years. The historic collaboration brings together two prestigious academic and athletic entities, and will allow for the coordination of ongoing efforts by each conference to research and address various aspects of head injuries in athletics, including concussions.

Through a shared vision of student-athlete well-being, this effort reinforces and serves as a positive representation of the position of intercollegiate athletics within the higher education model.

Founded in 1954, the Ivy League includes Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale Universities, Dartmouth College, and the University of Pennsylvania, and provides the country's widest intercollegiate athletic opportunities for both men and women, with over 8,000 athletes competing each year. The Ivy League annually finishes among the top conferences in the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics competitive rankings, and Ivy student-athletes annually compile the country's best records in the NCAA Academic Performance Ratings.