Rhino Hockey Star Launches Brain Injury Foundation
DAVE SIDAWAY, The Gazette
MONTREAL – After sustaining a vicious check that left him with a broken vertebra and a severe concussion, Taft hockey veteran and current Montreal Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty spent many bleak days last spring wondering if he would ever play hockey again. He received ongoing treatment for his injuries at the Traumatic Brain Injury Centre at the Montreal General Hospital, and now has doctor’s permission to return to the ice this season.
In the meantime he has launched the Max Pacioretty Foundation to help raise funds toward the acquisition and installation of a Functional MRI (fMRI) scanner for the Montreal General. One of the most recently developed forms of neuroimaging, fMRI scans measure changes in blood flow related to neural activity in the brain or spinal cord. It offers a concrete means of measuring changes in neural connections and brain chemistry, and is a tremendous leap forward from current post-concussion tests, such as treadmill performance or sensitivity to light.
Pacioretty describes his initiative as an effort to give something back to the medical facility that helped him toward a rapid recovery. “It’s rewarding to score a goal or have a good game, but even more so to help someone’s life. That’s why I want to be hands-on with this,” he said.
The $3.5-million fMRI machine will attract researchers and make the Montreal General Hospital a major player in the study of injuries that affect anyone exposed head trauma.
“This would be the first machine of its type,” said Dr. Tarek Razek, who runs the Montreal General’s trauma unit. “There are maybe half a dozen in the world that approximate its function. This will be of a newer, higher generation. There’s already a lot of cool stuff going on in terms of traumatic brain injury care and research. But this is a really big advancement, and it will set our whole region apart in terms of the kind of work we’re able to do.”
Pacioretty hopes his Foundation will draw support from corporations, service clubs, minor hockey leagues – “anyone out there who would like to undertake a fundraising project,” he said.
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