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Boosting Sales and How Concussions can Affect Athletes

On Thursday, January 21st, we went to a morning meeting of the Heights-Hillcrest Regional Chamber of Commerce at the Hilton Garden Inn/700 Beta Banquet and Conference Center in Mayfield Heights. The program for the day concerned boosting sales and business in 2016 and beyond. The speaker was Ms. Deborah Wasylko, CEO and Founder of Baskets Galore which "designs all-occasion, corporate and holiday gifts for clients throughout Northeast Ohio." When designing these gifts, Ms. Wasylko expressed awareness about the need for cultural sensitivity and to promote inclusivity and cultural sensitivity. We arrived early and got to visit with Ms. Wasylko and her husband, Mr. John Wasylko, a video producer who took a personal day to come help his wife with this presentation which we liked very much because it encouraged people to make a "human connection" with their clients as well as emphasizing excellent values like sincerity and thoughtfulness.

IMG_7210Among the people who we met at this meeting were Mr. Gary Ison with Coldwell Banker Hunter Realty who had recently moved to Ohio from Florida. It was interesting hearing him talk about one of his prior jobs which was to to greet people as a cartoon character at Disneyworld. Needless to say, he and his fellow workers grew quite hot very quickly in those costumes so a 45-minute on followed by a 45 minute off rule was enforced.

We also met Ms. Neina K who created her own business  designing greeting cards. She also works as an ESL instructor at CSU and Kent University where she has assisted students from such places as Palestine, Nigeria, and Somalia master the English language. She told us how rewarding it is for her to work with a student who is intelligent and well-versed in the area that he/she is studying but just needs some help with English so that he/she can achieve his/her potential in the classroom and our society.

We applaud Ms. Neina K for her efforts as we are sure that her students do also.

Speaking of students, we shared a table with several of them at our next event which was a City Club program titled "When the Lights Go Out: A Conversation about Concussions and Sports" featuring Mr. Josh Cribbs, former NFL Return Specialist and Wide Receiver; his wife, Ms. Marla Cribbs who is an author of a book concerning the NFL that will be on the shelves this Spring; and Dr. Mayur M. Pandya, Lead Psychiatrist at ACE Sport Psychiatry. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Steve Sanders who is the Metro Cleveland Director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. As we were arriving, Mr. Sanders and his assistant, Ms. Beth Hedtke were putting up their banner in the lobby; we asked if they would pose for a photo and they graciously did.

Ms. Mary Beth McCormack from Montessori High School recognized us and walked over to say hello. She then invited us to sit with her and her students so we accepted the invitation. We enjoyed speaking with the students about their various courses of study. One young man, whose mother had immigrated to the United States from Iceland years ago, told about a two-week project that he undertook where he taught Icelandic words to his fellow students. Among the things that he covered were proper greetings, colors and food.

IMG_7250Prior to the start of the program, we were told that the City Club arranged this program months before the movie "Concussion" was released so the program was not a reaction to the movie but the movie helped the discussion be more pertinent. In fact, the trailer for "Concussion" was played prior to the start of the discussion. Unfortunately, we have not seen the movie yet but according to Wikipedia, it stars Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu, "a Nigerian forensic pathologist who fought against efforts by the National Football League to suppress his research on chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) brain damage suffered by professional football players."

The discussion was more emotional than what we are used to seeing at the City Club because Mr. Cribbs admitted that he was very frightened by the film because he had suffered several concussions over the years and, although he felt fine now, he worried about how this might effect him in the future. Mr. Cribbs and Dr. Pandya talked at length about the pressures upon the players to continue to play and finish the game in spite of being hit very severely earlier on. Still, Mr. Cribbs was very glad that he chose the career that he chose because he loved playing football because, despite the obvious risks, it brought a lot of joy to his life.

Ms. Cribbs seemed also spoke with great feeling as she talked about how her young son is really into sports and would like to play football like his father. Of course, she is worried about him but she still feels that it would be wrong to deny him his passion.

Mr. Cribbs said that he would like to keep his son out of contact sports until high school because by that time he would have "a better grasp of the fundamentals." Later in the discussion, he said that the risk of young people being seriously injured would be lessened by use of the proper equipment and better IMG_7251training for coaches.

All of the panelist agreed that in recent years there have been a lot of positive changes in the NFL; Ms. Cribbs said that the players are eager to play so much that she believed that it was necessary for the coaches to intervene and take them out of the game in questionable circumstances and was glad to see this now being done more often.

During the Q and A, we asked if the new awareness regarding head injuries was worldwide and if it pertained to other sports like soccer where the player uses his head to hit the ball quite a bit of the time. Dr. Pandya comfortingly said that it was and wished that "Concussion" had talked about the risks associated with other sports, not just football because they certainly were there.

Prior to the start of the program, we visited with Mr. Merle Frankel, a long time City Club member who said that this program was especially important to him because his 13 year-old grandson had recently suffered a concussion and he was very impressed by the way that the doctors and his grandson's school took his condition very seriously and properly monitored the boy who is doing fine now.

Also at our table was Ms. Beth Coleman who runs a youth football league in Columbia Station as well as being a "sports mom" with three athletic sons. Needless to say this program was of particular value to her.


Written by:

Michael Patterson

Community Liaison,

Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC.

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