Steelers and world-renowned neurosurgeon Joseph Maroon, MD, has been named the 2017 Man of the Year by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Saints and Sinners Club of America.
Maroon is a board-certified clinical professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, and the Heindl Scholar in Neuroscience.
"This is the result of a distinguished medical and fitness career that has helped a countless number of his patients achieve superior overall health results," said William Wolfe, president of the organization's local chapter. "Dr. Maroon has served as a friend and mentor to all his patients and colleagues through his daily efforts and community involvement."
Maroon was honored at a dinner at the LeMont Restaurant on Tuesday night, where he was roster by former wrestler Bruno Sammartino. Maroon selected The Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research as the charity to benefit from the event, a foundation he has close ties to.
Maroon, along with neuropsychologist Mark Lovell, co-developed the ImPACT test, a post-concussion assessment and cognitive test now used by the NFL, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, and by over 12,000 colleges and high schools in the United States. And it all began with encouragement from Noll.
"I thought it was a great opportunity to have all of the funds go to the foundation," said Maroon. "The foundation is a way to acknowledge one of the greatest coaches in all of sports. Chuck Noll was incredibly influential recognizing early on the importance of treating the head injuries and supported everything we did in terms of ImPACT. This is directly due to Chuck Noll and Dan Rooney, who supported it from early on."
Amazing strides have been made in the prevention of traumatic brain injuries thanks to the work of Maroon and the ImPACT test, and it's only growing.
"I think the most important thing in terms of traumatic brain injury is prevention, doing the things we are doing, with better equipment, safeguards and baseline testing," said Maroon. "The ImPACT testing now goes from ages 5 to 12, which wasn't available before. Now kids in any contact sport, even riding a bicycle or playing in a playground, we can now do a baseline cognitive test to assess their brain function. If they have a problem we can assess it accurately and prevent returning to play before there is a resolution."
The Steelers Charity Walk, which will be held on Saturday, July 29 at Saint Vincent College, will also benefit The Chuck Noll Foundation for Brain Injury Research. Participants can sign-up online until July 27.