(Extensions of Remarks - May 23, 2013)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E761]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                        HON. GERALD E. CONNOLLY

                              of virginia

                    in the house of representatives

                         Thursday, May 23, 2013

  Mr. CONNOLLY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to congratulate Michelle and 
Gil Trenum on receiving the Sports Legacy Institute's, SLI, Legacy 
Award for their role in improving programs for concussion management in 
Prince William County, Virginia. I also commend SLI on the occasion of 
its 3rd Annual Tom McHale Memorial for its commitment to improving the 
prevention and treatment of concussions.
  The Sports Legacy Institute is a non-profit organization that uses 
medical research, treatment, education and prevention to minimize the 
threat of concussions. Each year the Sports Legacy Institute sponsors 
the Tom McHale Memorial to benefit its efforts to lower the risks and 
end the tragic effects of brain trauma. Tom McHale was a collegiate and 
professional football player as well as a successful business owner. 
McHale tragically died at the age of 45 and later became the sixth 
former NFL player diagnosed with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, CTE. 
CTE is a degenerative brain disease linked to a history of concussions 
and head injuries.
  Michelle and Gil Trenum have championed concussion management and CTE 
education within the Prince William County Public Schools. The Trenums 
became advocates for more comprehensive concussion education after 
losing their own son, Austin, to the effects of multiple concussions 
and CTE. In 2010, Austin was a mature, vibrant, charismatic 17-year-old 
student at Brentsville District High School. Everyone who knew Austin 
says that he loved his family, his friends, and football. He played 
fullback and linebacker on his high school varsity football team. After 
Austin's untimely death in September of 2010, his parents donated his 
brain to Boston University, where doctors discovered injuries 
consistent with CTE.
  Since then, Gil, a representative on the Prince William County School 
Board, along with his wife, Michelle, have pushed for urgent 
comprehensive changes to the parent and student concussion education 
laws. As a result of their advocacy, Prince William County Schools 
implemented concussion education policies an entire year earlier than 
originally required by the state. Concussion education in Prince 
William County includes a mandatory one-hour seminar for students 
trying out for sports and their parents. The policy also has strict 
return-to-play guidelines and thorough concussion education for school 
athletic trainers.
  I commend the Trenums for transforming their grief into an 
opportunity to achieve systemic changes that will help local athletes, 
coaches, and parents make better decisions concerning concussion 
  Mr. Speaker, I ask my colleagues to join me in extending our 
appreciation to Michelle and Gil Trenum for making sports safer for our 
children. The Sports Legacy Institute chose deserving recipients for 
its Legacy Award. The Trenums have proven to be passionate and 
effective advocates on behalf of concussion prevention and treatment.