Tug McGraw Foundation

 

News & Events

July 25, 2017

Study: CTE Found In Nearly All Donated NFL Player Brains
Source: Tom Goldman, NPR

 

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Lamaar Thomas (center) is hit in the head by Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Brandon Magee as cornerback Kip Edwards helps make the tackle a 2014 preseason game. Magee was penalized for the hit. Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP


As the country starts to get back into its most popular professional team sport, there is a reminder of how dangerous football can be.

 

An updated study published Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association on football players and the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy reveals a striking result among NFL players.

 

The study examined the brains of deceased former football players (CTE can only be diagnosed after death) and found that 110 out of 111 brains of those who played in the NFL had CTE.

CTE has been linked to repeated blows to the head — the 2015 movie Concussion chronicled the discovery of CTE's connection to football.

 

In the study, researchers examined the brains of 202 deceased former football players at all levels. Nearly 88 percent of all the brains, 177, had CTE. Three of 14 who had played only in high school had CTE, 48 of 53 college players, 9 of 14 semiprofessional players, and 7 of 8 Canadian Football League players. CTE was not found in the brains of two who played football before high school.

 

According to the study's senior author, Dr. Ann McKee, "this is by far the largest [study] of individuals who developed CTE that has ever been described. And it only includes individuals who are exposed to head trauma by participation in football."

 

The fact that we were able to gather this many cases [in that time frame] says this disease is much more common than we previously realized. A CTE study several years ago by McKee and her colleagues included football players and athletes from other collision sports such as hockey, soccer and rugby. It also examined the brains of military veterans who had suffered head injuries.


The study released Tuesday is the continuation of a study that began eight years ago. In 2015, McKee and fellow researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University published study results revealing 87 of 91 former NFL players had CTE.

 

McKee is chief of neuropathology at VA Boston Healthcare System and director of the CTE Center at the BU School of Medicine. Speaking about the new numbers, she says it's "startling to be able to gather 177 examples of CTE" in a relatively short period of time (the past eight years).

 

"While we still don't know what the incidence is in the general population or in the general population of football players," she says, "the fact that we were able to gather this many cases [in that time frame] says this disease is much more common than we previously realized."

 

McKee cautions, however, that researchers cannot extrapolate from the numbers and come to conclusions about CTE. All the brains studied were donated, she says. "Families don't donate brains of their loved ones unless they're concerned about the person. So all the players in this study, on some level, were symptomatic. That leaves you with a very skewed population."


Still, McKee is adamant about one point. "We're seeing this [CTE] in a very large number that participated in football for many years. So while we don't know the exact risk and we don't know the exact number, we know this is a problem in football."

 

Longtime concussion expert Dr. Munro Cullum says the study is helpful for several reasons. "It obviously adds to the cases in the literature," he says. "It has expanded the age range [of those with CTE] beyond just retired NFL players. And [researchers] did find increasing CTE pathology in the cases [of players] who were older. That's all useful information."

But Cullum, a neuropsychologist with the O'Donnell Brain Institute at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center who has studied concussions at all levels of sport for nearly three decades, says it's still too soon to definitively declare CTE a problem in football.

 

"It seems to be, perhaps, more common in people who play football," he says, "but we don't know why. We actually don't know what the causative factors are or the risk factors [for CTE]. There still are probably yet to be discovered genetic and environmental factors that could be contributing as well."

Cullum notes all the attention is on football right now.

 

"It depends on where you're shining the light," he says. "We have to be very careful. If all I study is condition x or y, and I find that in the sample that I'm sent, what about the 99 percent of all the other samples?"

 

Cullum and McKee agree on one thing: There has to be additional studies and more money for research. "We need a very well-constructed longitudinal study," says McKee, "looking at young individuals playing these sports. We need to follow them for decades. We need to take measurements throughout their lives and playing careers so we can begin to detect when things start to go wrong. If we can detect early changes, that's when we could really make a difference." McKee says researchers need tens of millions of dollars, even $100 million, to conduct the necessary research. "We need a lot of funding," she says, noting that the researchers are working with a grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke that ends in December. "It's always tricky for us to get funding."

 

She has submitted applications for funding into next year, she says, but she is not sure they will be granted. "There's so much discussion of this disease not existing that funding agencies are reluctant to consider this a real neuro-degenerative disease. "But I think we've proven beyond a doubt this is."

And the attention should extend beyond football, McKee adds. "I think any sports organization that has participants that are exposed to head trauma needs to endorse this research and support it." The organization on the CTE hot seat, the NFL, says it has done so. In a statement provided to NPR, the NFL said it values what McKee is doing and is committed to supporting CTE research: "We appreciate the work done by Dr. McKee and her colleagues for the value it adds in the ongoing quest for a better understanding of CTE. Case studies such as those compiled in this updated paper are important to further advancing the science and progress related to head trauma. The medical and scientific communities will benefit from this publication and the NFL will continue to work with a wide range of experts to improve the health of current and former NFL athletes. As noted by the authors, there are still many unanswered questions relating to the cause, incidence and prevalence of long-term effects of head trauma such as CTE. The NFL is committed to supporting scientific research into CTE and advancing progress in the prevention and treatment of head injuries."


The statement continues, "In 2016, the NFL pledged $100 million in support for independent medical research and engineering advancements in neuroscience related topics. This is in addition to the $100 million that the NFL and its partners are already spending on medical and neuroscience research." But McKee is skeptical of the NFL's promises to fund research. "I will be extremely surprised if any of the 100 or 200 million comes my way," she said in response to the league's statement. "The NFL directs funding only to research they approve of."

The NFL has funded a portion of her past research, but in McKee's view, there will be "no continued NFL support" because "the results are considered too damaging."

Despite the NFL's statement supporting McKee, the league wasn't always a willing partner of CTE research. Many accused the NFL of denying, or even covering up, the link between football-related head injury and brain disease. As part of a massive concussion lawsuit settlement with thousands of former NFL players, reached in 2013, the league didn't have to acknowledge any wrongdoing.

 

But the NFL has responded to the concussion issue, instituting new policies and enforcing existing rules to better protect players.The moves to protect football players are important, says Cullum, despite the uncertainties still surrounding CTE and concussions. "Obviously any brain injury is not good," he says. "But right now, we don't know how many concussions are too many or for whom." McKee anticipates her study will become part of the ongoing discussion about football's future and whether young people should play the game.

"I'm worried about these numbers steering the conversation in that these numbers are of a very biased brain donation research," she says. "But the fact that we found [CTE in 177 players] is cause for concern." "While I'm not willing to say football is doomed and I also am unwilling to make a decision [on a young person playing football] for other individuals ... I think there's a risk to playing football," she adds.


McKee says she does suspect the "longer and higher" the level a player goes, the more likely it is that player gets CTE, but reiterates that more research is needed "to really come up with the answers."

 

July 6, 2017

Cracking The Code In the Gym with Unconventional (Ret) Forces

Cracking the Code in the Gym with Unconventional Forces (Ret) experts. Tug McGraw exercised throughout his chemo treatments to help improve his short-term memory loss from chemo and radiation fog. Equally important he wanted to keep his body strong and his spirit up. So what does exercise do for those with TBI and PTS? Research shows us that we can have cognitive improvement through exercise, diet, and nutrition. During the month of July, TMF will be spending time with Virginia High Performance's No Fail Mission Program. A peer to peer program for Speical Operation Forces and their support teams. We will be updating our visit on program facebook,twitter,and Instgram.

 

July 3, 2017

Ya Gotta Believe in the Magic of Disney and Others

Reflecting on our week with American Airlines, Envoy, Airpower Foundation, Gary Sinise Foundation, Disney Heroes, Tug McGraw Foundation and the USO-Metro. Together we created memories for 17 families who have a parent serving in the military with a cancer diagnosis and or a spouse. Ya Gotta Believe when you meet a little boy named Tugger who offers up his autograph and lets you know he is available if Tim would like to meet with him. Ya Gotta Believe when you meet an Army soldier dgn with a brain tumor and the back of his shirt says believe. Ya Gotta Believe when a Marine dgn with a brain tumor tears up and says, "Tug was one of my favorite players." Ya Gotta Believe when one of the Disney artists goes backstage to learn the song Live Like You Were Dying for a music request. Just because it was important. Ya Gotta Believe in the power of working together with others to help improve the quality of life for others.  WE BELIEVE.

 


June 27, 2017

Learn, Share, and Connect on PTSD

A mental health problem that can occur after someone goes through a traumatic event like war, assault, or disaster. Click Here, to learn more from the NIH on symptoms and treatments..

 

June 26, 2017

Game Day Today! One Rule The Mixed Nutts Always Win!

Come out and Watch The Tug McGraw Foundation and CalVet's zaniest softball team today at 4:00pm. The Mission of the Game, to Bridge Veterans and Community through America's favorite Pastime. Click Here to learn more about this incredible team who's ages range from 62 to 93.

 

June 19, 2017

Why Thursday's Meeting is Important for the Future VHCYountville

On Thursday, June 22, 2017, the Little Hoover Commission will conduct a public hearingon the Veterans Home of California, Yountville. The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Room 437of the State Capitol in Sacramento.The Commission will hear from Dr. Vito Imbasciani, Secretary of the CaliforniaDepartment of Veterans Affairs, who will describe his plans for the Yountville veterans homecampus. Next, the former executive director of the Presidio Trust will share lessons from hisexperiences transforming San Francisco’s Presidio using public-private partnerships. TheCommission also will hear from the senior advisor to the Chancellor of University of California,Merced, who will share lessons learned through the UC Merced 2020 Project.

 

 

 

 

The Commissionthen will hear from a resident of the Yountville home, as well as a couple members of the home’sAllied Council who will share their experiences as residents of the campus and discuss ideas forimprovements. Next, Yountville Mayor John Dunbar will discuss the local impact of possiblechanges to the veterans home campus. Two representatives from the Department of GeneralServices will discuss the department’s role in managing leases on the Yountville veterans homecampus and describe the process to establish new leases on the property.

 

Finally, theCommission will hear from the California Department of Developmental Services, who willdescribe the department’s process to close the state’s developmental centers which, like theveterans homes, offer long-term care for certain Californians.There will be an opportunity for public comment at the end of the hearing. Publiccomments will be limited to three minutes per person. The Commission also encourages writtencomments.Immediately following the hearing, the Commission will hold a business meeting inroom 175 of 925 L Street in Sacramento.

 

If you need reasonable accommodation due to a disability, please contact CommissionExecutive Director Carole D’Elia at (916) 445-2125 or littlehoover@lhc.ca.gov by Thursday, June 15, 2017.

 

Download Agenda

 

READ THE HOOVER REPORT ON THE HOME

May 28, 2017

In a Town Known For Its Culinary...The Unexpected On This Memorial Day Weekend

We often think of the Town of Yountville as the Ulitmate Destination Place for Good Eats. However, what you might not know, is the town was incorporated because of a unique community. This Memorial Day,

The Tug McGraw Foundation honors those that "Gave It Their All." Please take a moment to watch a community in action as they come to pay thier respects to the 6000 men and women who are laid to rest at the

Veterans Home of California, Yountville. A place The Tug McGraw Foundation is honored to work from each and everyday.

 

 

 

On Saturday, May 27, 2017, Eagle Scouts, Community, Residents, and Staff placed over 6000 flags at the Veterans Home of California, Yountville

Click here, to view this beautiful site in action

February 22, 2017

PART 1 of 3: An Intergenerational Day with An Admiral, A SEAL and an Angel

Yountville-Residents of the Veterans Home of Yountville, California received a bit of surprise last Friday- three very special visitors from Washington DC and Virginia Beach.
Admiral Winnefeld and Mrs. Meeting John Lew

Ret. Admiral James Winnefeld, former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Mrs. Mary Winnefeld together with human performance expert Alex, owner of Virginia High Performance paid a visit to the veterans home while visiting the Tug McGraw Foundation (TMF) for their Walking With Leaders Discussions.

 

Jennifer Brusstar, CEO of TMF, said: “One of our greatest strengths as a charity is our ability to connect people and share resources. These individuals are incredible avocates for military healthcare providing an intergenerational experience for the home, staff and community that shares their knowledge is in Tug's words, a homerun.”

Photo: Admiral Winnefeld, Mary Winnefeld met by Home vet and TMF Mixed Nutt player, John Lew.


The day started bright and early at 0730 with a community Intergenerational Breakfast Talk at the Home's main dining room with leadership from the community and the Napa Valley College Baseball Team (NVCB). Upon arrival, Yountville's, Mayor John Dunbar, the Home's director, Don Veverka, Home resident and TMF’s Mixed Nutts player John Lew greeted the special guests. Photo: Jim Treadway and Bob Hurley

 

 

Throughout breakfast, the Winnefelds, the baseball players, and Alex rotated tables visiting with senior veterans and the dining room staff. One very special moment was when Jennifer was pulled aside from a home member and in a very shy voice whispered, " Do you think the Admiral would say hello to me? I'm a WW II vet." She smiled and said, "That's what he's here for…to see you!"

The Admiral immediately came over pulled him aside and a very special conversation was had. Photo: Admiral and WW II Residents and below the Vet that asked to say hello!

 

Tug McGraw's teammate from the Phillies and Baseball Coach for NVCB, Warren Brusstar, said: "Having the opportunity for our team to have breakfast and engage in conversations with the vets gives them a deeper understanding in why we get to play baseball everyday, it’s because of their sacrifices.”


After breakfast and with excitement the baseball team, the vets, locals Jim Treadway, Bob Hurley and Tug's cousin Frank Henderson huddled together much like a sports team would to hear Alex speak. Not just an expert in enhancing physical and mental performance but a Navy SEAL who helped develop the Human Performance Program to increase physical, mental and sleep performance within Naval Special Warfare. After being with the Teams for 21 years, Alex has taken his expertise and continues to pay it forward with his "No Fail Mission" program. A program designed to help recovering vets get back in shape or get past any limitations they may have sustained in combat.

 

The Intergenerational Breakfast talks were doing exactly what TMF hoped it would. Be a social vehicle that offers younger and older generations the opportunities to interact and become engaged.

 

The chairs in the room drew closer and closer as Alex spoke about physical performance and the importance in having good character. Drawing them in one by one. Then the element of surprise happened, Alex turned the tables on the baseball team and threw out a dagger of a challenge to them. “I’ve toured this campus and there is a bowling alley here. I think you green horns need to come out and bowl with the vets here. Get to know them and share stories." Smiles broke out and instantly young voices, were saying, "yes, when can we start?" Photo: Alex and Lorelie Magalong, Food Service Supervisor


Mission accomplished, the baseball team is creating a league of their own, Alex's Green Horn Bowlers.  First baseman, Kurtis Bluford and TMF are in conversations with the Home in developing an Intergenerational Bowling League that will meet 2x a month.


Photo: Back Row: Jim Treadway, Coach Parker, Admiral Winnefeld, Jack Brusstar, Alex, NVC College Team, Warren Brusstar, Frank Henderson

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The Tug Mcgraw Foundation is helping to support Alex's program by providing travel for a veteran's family member or support person while he/she is attending his No Fail Mission Program. The vets support system plays an important role in continued recovery. Having a support member in attendance for the last week of the program helps bridge, strengthens, and reinforces the good work that has been accomplished and a foundation to carry it on.

 

Coming Up Next Week Part 2: The Admiral and the Angel

 

Tug McGraw Foundation's One Seat Today To Further Tomorrow Program: provides travel on American Airlines for healthcare providers and students to grab a seat at various conferences with leading experts addressing the most relevant, cutting edge, education and practices on brain-related trauma and tumors.  Our goal is to maximize collaboration opportunities and to further education for Healthcare Providers, students and individuals engaged in sustaining and advancing evidence based treatments for civilians, veterans, military personal, and their families that are affected by brain-related trauma and or tumors.

 

 

January 12, 2017

TMF's Pilot Success "One Seat Today To Further Tomorrow" To Open in Feb

As we begin to layout the foundation for our work in 2017, it is important to reflect, review, and share the impact of our programs and partnerships. Below are the highlights and outcomes from sharing TMF resources and connections with the Navy SEAL Foundation's (NSF) Whole Warrior Health Forum. Because of the feedback and the impact it had for both students and health care proivders from the NSF conference, TMF’s, One Seat Today To Further Tomorrow, will continue to provide travel on American Airlines for healthcare providers and students in 2017. Those selected will be able to grab a seat at various conferences to further education with leading experts addressing the most relevant, cutting edge, education and practices on brain-related trauma and tumors. As a pilot,  TMF transported 10 students and health care providers to the Navy Seal Foundation's Whole Warrior Forum. TMF will open applications in February for 2017 Conferences. If you would like to be on the application list for travel in 2017, email us at info@tugmcgraw.org.


 

December 22, 2016

Congrats to our Photo Winners

View The Winners

 

"This is a blast! Thank you for this fstop program and all you do for those with Brain related issues!! "Ya Gotta Believe"! Merry Christmas to all at The Tug McGraw Foundation. Jaci Gordon

 

" I had to dig out some of my old phones for this. It's been fun! Thank you for doing this. I have always enjoyed photography but never shared outside of Facebook." Kayla Smith

 

 

December 7, 2016

Joe Biden the mid-reliever hands the ball to the closer with 21st Century Cures Act
Cancer Moonshot: The Doctor Giving a Fighting Chance to Patients

The Senate passed an extensive medical funding bill Wednesday, sending it to the desk of President Barack Obama, who says he'll happily sign it.

It was a rare demonstration of unity in a Congress badly split by politics and usually determined to thwart any initiatives coming out the White House. But the $6.3 billion legislation easily passed the Senate in a vote of 94-5.

 

The measure pays for some of Obama's pet projects, including the Cancer Moonshot that Vice President Joe Biden leads.

"This bill will make a big difference, and I look forward to signing it as soon as it reaches my desk," Obama said in a statement.

The 21st Century Cures Act has been two years in the making and it was one of the most heavily lobbied pieces of legislation in recent history. It pays for cancer research, pays to fight the epidemic of opioid abuse, funds mental health treatment, helps the Food and Drug Administration to speed up drug approvals and pushes better use of technology in medicine.

 

Related: Some Win, Some Lose From Medical Funding Bill

"We are now one step closer to ending cancer as we know it, unlocking cures for diseases like Alzheimer's, and helping people seeking treatment for opioid addiction finally get the help they need," Obama said.

 

"WE ARE NOW ONE STEP CLOSER TO ENDING CANCER AS WE KNOW IT, UNLOCKING CURES FOR DISEASES LIKE ALZHEIMER'S, AND HELPING PEOPLE SEEKING TREATMENT FOR OPIOID ADDICTION FINALLY GET THE HELP THEY NEED."

"Third, it invests nearly $3 billion to build upon the major biomedical research initiatives we have launched in my administration - known as the BRAIN and Precision Medicine Initiatives - which are tackling diseases like Alzheimer's and creating new research models to find cures and better target treatments," Obama said.

The praise came pouring quickly from industry and medical societies more accustomed to seeing funding bills stall for months or even years in the very badly divided Congress.

Related: House Passes Cures Bill


"The remarkable bipartisan, bicameral support for the 21st Century Cures Act proves that congressional lawmakers are serious about the need for scientific research, effective care-delivery, and the removal of barriers to scientific progress," said Dr. Daniel Hayes, president of theAmerican Society of Clinical Oncology.

It includes $500 million a year to help states prevent opioid misuse and get better treatment for addicts. "These additional resources are particularly critical in rural areas, where rates of opioid misuse and overdose are high, access to treatment is limited, and patients who seek treatment are often met with waitlists that can mean the difference between life and death," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

 

Related: Lobbyists Had A Big Say in Cures Bill

The bill provides especially detailed instructions to states for boosting mental health care, which most advocates agree is badly neglected across the country.

"This legislation will improve the lives and health of countless Americans," said American Psychological Association President Susan McDaniel. "It will increase access to effective, evidence-based care, particularly for those with serious mental illness."

 

"IT IS SORELY DISAPPOINTING THAT CONGRESS GAVE BIG PHARMA AND THE MEDICAL DEVICE INDUSTRY AN EARLY CHRISTMAS PRESENT BY PASSING THE 21ST CENTURY CURES ACT."

Not everyone loves the act. For one thing, it takes cash from a public health initiative meant to help people prevent America's biggest killers: chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes.

 

"The Trust for America's Health is deeply disappointed Congress will utilize the Prevention and Public Health Fund as an offset for the legislative package known as 21st Century Cures," said Rich Hamburg, interim president and CEO of the group.

 

"Cutting the Prevention Fund will limit the nation's ability to improve health and quality of life and prevent disease. This is the nation's first and only substantial investment in moving from our current 'sick care' system to a true preventive health system."

 

November 13, 2016

We're Back April 15, 2017!

 

The North Texas Community Giving Foundation, in partnership with The Tug McGraw Foundation, is excited to present the second annual Texas Big Star Half Marathon and 5K on Saturday, April 15, 2017. What started last year as the first endurance running event for the City of Frisco continues this year with an all-new course and Start/Finish. Of course, our wildly popular post-race Finisher Fest and beautiful medals and runner recognition awards return. The second year of this race is sure to be bigger and better than the first and something you do not want to miss.  80 percent of funds raised for the Tug McGraw Foundation will benefit Texas Based Non-profits working with brain-related trauma and tumors through a call out for funding request.www.runtexasbigstar.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sign Up to Run/Walk/Virtual/Wheelchair/Handcycle with Team McGraw Texas Big Star Frisco, TX,


 


 

 

 

 

  • Registration Fees Covered
  • No Minimums
  • Team McGraw t-shirt 5K or Virtual
  • Team McGraw singlet 1/2 Marathon
  • Personalized Fundraising Web Page
  • Fundraising Incentives and Awards
  • Team Photo
  • Team McGraw Race Tent Lounge
  • Bag Check at Team McGraw Race Tent Lounge

 

**Incentives for registered Team McGrawParticipants Only

 

 

 

  • $100+ Team McGraw Shoelaces and Baseball Bracelet
  • $250 + Team McGraw Beanie
  • $500 + Team McGraw Frisco Tek Jacket
  • $1000 + Tug McGraw Cuff Bracelet
  • $2500 +  Two (2) Tickets to
  • $5000 + Two (2) Tickets on American Airlines Round Trip (Coach) with two (2) tickets to see a U.S. Soul2Soul show in 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5K Run, Walk, Handcycle, Wheelchair

$60 Includes Team McGraw T-shirt and Registration Fee


5K Virtual, Run,Walk, Handcycle, Wheelchair

$60 Includes Team McGraw T-shirt and Registration Fee


1/2 Marathon, Run, Walk, Handcycle, Wheelchair

$90 Includes Team McGraw Singlet and Registration Fee


I Just want to run the Texas Big Star no Team McGraw t-shirts or Incentives


 

October 28, 2016

A TX Surprise: For Friends who Climbed Mt. Rainier for Brain Cancer & TBI
Maj. William Denn III, of Albany, N.Y., was recognized by the Tug McGraw Foundation for his philanthropic efforts.
A 2016 Command and General Staff Officer Course graduate set out with two others last spring to climb the highest peak in the contiguous 48 states to raise awareness for brain cancer and traumatic brain injury.Maj. William Denn III, of Albany, N.Y., was recognized by the Tug McGraw Foundation Oct. 22 in Dallas, Texas, for his philanthropic efforts.
Denn and two climbing partners climbed Mount Rainier in Washington in June and raised $15,000 for TBI and brain cancer research. Denn is currently attending the Advanced Military Studies Program at the School of Advanced Military Studies. He graduated from the Command and General Staff Officer Course in June earning the General George C. Marshall Award as the distinguished graduate.Denn said the most important result of the climb was raising awareness of TBI and its devastating effect on soldiers.“The stigma associated with (post-traumatic stress disorder) and TBI follows someone as they continue in life,” he said. “People need to understand where it comes from and how it affects people.”Planning for the climb began in the fall of 2015, he said. During the planning phase they realized they wanted to make the effort bigger than themselves. TBI was a natural selection for Denn because of its effect on soldiers. His climbing partner lost his father to brain cancer early in life so the two agreed on the TBI and brain cancer focus.

They decided on the McGraw Foundation because of its work in the area and began fundraising in January. Denn said about 150 people contributed to TBI and brain cancer research through the climb.
In June, Denn and his partners ascended the mountain along with a guide from Rainier Mountaineering Inc. and reached the summit on June 26. Despite two weeks of blizzard conditions that prevented other teams from summiting, the weather improved dramatically for Denn’s climb. The final leg of the climb began at midnight underneath a clear view of the Milky Way and involved technical pitches with ropes on ice and rock. Because of an equipment failure, Denn had to stop just short of the summit but the rest of his team were able to carry the Tug McGraw Foundation banner to the top.
The climb was a personal victory for Denn. He and his climbing partner, Josh Stiefel from New York, had attempted a climb in Bolivia the previous year but Denn became ill with myocarditis, a viral heart inflammation that led to medical evacuation back to the states and a year of follow-up with heart medication.“It was humbling, to be at the peak of physical fitness and after successfully serving through multiple deployments to be felled by this infection,” Denn said.
Denn met Stiefel while attending graduate studies at Harvard in 2013, and they have been climbing together since. He began climbing as a serious hobby ealier while stationed in Colorado.
Josh, Ava, Officer Manager at TMF who tracked their every step, and Will
Josh, Tim and Will Celebrating Their Great Victory at Sky Ball as the guests of Tug McGraw
SOURCE: Harry Sarles | Army University Public Affairs