Cohn & Wolfe helps University of Pittsburgh Medical Center explain concussion treatments

As major sports leagues evolve the way they deal with player concussions, the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center has launched a website to better explain the issue.

Boston Red Sox catcher David Ross is helping to teach the public about concussions
Boston Red Sox catcher David Ross is helping to teach the public about concussions

PITTSBURGH: The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center launched an online destination on Wednesday to educate the public about concussion treatments.

The UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, which launched in 2000, created the portal to raise awareness about available and proven treatments for concussions.

"The issue that’s going on in this country right now is there is a lot of misunderstanding with regards to how to treat concussions, so you have a lot of clinicians who are posting that shingle saying they take care of concussions, but they really don’t," explained Dean Walters, VP and CMO of UPMC.

In addition to an interactive guide to understanding concussions, the site includes stories from former UPMC patients about their treatment, including Boston Red Sox catcher David Ross and NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr.

The two athletes revealed their stories in videos running on the site and YouTube. Ross’ spot will run on regional TV, while Earnhardt’s will be featured nationally. Both athletes participated in the effort pro bono to educate the public about concussions and rehabilitation.

Other featured athletes include former National Football League quarterback Brady Quinn, former New York Yankee Brian Roberts, and Toronto Raptors power forward Tyler Hansbrough.

The UPMC Sports Medicine Center is the official sports medicine provider for the National Football League’s Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins.

The medical center is launching the campaign at a time when both the NFL and NHL have faced concussion-related lawsuits from former players.  

Walters said the "game plan is sustainability" for the platform, so it will continue to leverage athletes who volunteer their time. UPMC will also look at other ways to promote the initiative, such as thought leadership and partnerships.

The campaign will also highlight stories from athletes of all ages and skill levels, including high school and recreational leagues, to show a variety of concussion stories.

UPMC developed the online platform in partnership with creative agency Grey New York.

Cohn & Wolfe, the medical center’s PR agency partner, is supporting the campaign nationally. The initiative will also include banner ads and native advertising, and UPMC will "heavily" incorporate social media into its engagement efforts, said Walters.

It will run TV ads during NASCAR’s race at Martinsville, Virginia, on October 26 and during Major League Baseball’s World Series, which began Tuesday night.

The caption alongside this story was updated on October 22 to correct the status of Red Sox catcher David Ross.

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