Sports Neurologist Dr. Vernon Williams is Today’s Honoree

VernonWilliamsSports Neurology and Pain Medicine found me. I can’t say that I ever had a revelation to choose these fields of medicine. I didn’t carefully consider and weigh the options or agonize over a decision to pursue this or that medical career. My practice found me.

As a high school junior I was approached by my guidance counselor (who I can honestly say I had never had more than a few conversations with…ever) about whether I was interested in a summer job as a research assistant at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. My response? “I guess so. As long as it doesn’t interfere with football practice.” I was a good student. I was in the chemical biology curriculum at Cass Tech High School. But so were many of my friends. Why was I asked? I didn’t know. Why was I assigned to the Department of Neurology basic science lab? I didn’t know. Not then. But I do now. I was being set up.

Two years later, I applied to college at two schools: Yale University and the University of Michigan (U-M). I was accepted to both. I could choose Yale, where I would play football and room with a good friend from my high school football team. He went on to play there. I did not. I chose U-M after having been informed that I was accepted into their prestigious Inteflex Accelerated Pre-Med/Medical Program. Interestingly enough, I was accepted by mistake. Sort of. I checked “yes” next to the box requesting consideration for the Inteflex Program on my draft-copy application to U-M. After visiting the campus and learning how competitive and difficult the program was (as well as how impossible acceptance would likely be), I decided NOT to check that box on the actual application. The second/”live” application, with the polished and re-written essay, wouldn’t be unnecessarily cluttered with an unrealistic dream of acceptance into Inteflex. I thought, “Just accept me into the regular university Bachelor of Science program, thank you.” Besides, I was leaning towards Yale anyway. Only I misplaced the second/”live” application and was forced to turn in the original draft-copy at the 11 th hour. The Inteflex box had been checked “Yes” for consideration on that application. I was accepted.

During my first year of Neurology residency in Baltimore, my chief resident asked if I was interested in a moonlighting job. Not in an E.R. or doing insurance physicals like many of the other residents, but in a clinical trials center where I would interview and examine patients with various types of headaches. Three years later, I had taken medical histories on and examined thousands of patients with headaches, and had acted as a primary or sub-investigator on dozens of clinical trials related to migraines.

My former chief resident was now on staff at Johns Hopkins and offered to introduce me to the director of the Pain Management fellowship program. I was offered a fellowship position in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care where I was able to pursue a year and a half of intensive clinical training in Headache, clinical trials training in Headache, and interventional training in Pain Management with internationally renowned experts in these respective fields.

About 8-10 months into my fellowship program at Johns Hopkins, my fellowship director suggested that I contact an orthopedic surgery group in Los Angeles that was recruiting a non-operative spine and pain specialist. They were also interested in a Neurologist. Maybe with me, they could kill two birds with one stone. At the time, my immediate reaction was negative, to put it mildly. I liked the East Coast. My family was back in Michigan. What on earth would possess me to relocate 3,000 miles to Los Angeles? Well, let’s just say a trip to L.A. can be a powerful thing for a young man born and raised in Detroit. Especially if that young man is an athlete and sports fan (who achingly missed the opportunity to play college football) being interviewed by the premier sports medicine group in the country. When I accepted the offer to interview I had no idea Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic’s physicians were team doctors for every major sports team in southern California. A neurologist… practicing pain medicine…in an orthopedic clinic…in Los Angeles. I can’t pretend to have planned or pursued this beginning to a medical practice. Simply put, my practice found me.

I joined the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in 1997 and initially developed a multidisciplinary pain program by adding pain psychology, biofeedback, acupuncture, and alternative physical therapy techniques under the Pain Management umbrella. My next goal was to develop more “Sports Neurology” activities and significantly expand into the areas of concussion and head injury as well as evaluation and management of neurologic consequences of sports and other types of performance. Cosmetic neurology and the concept of maximizing neurological function, not only in the diseased and afflicted, but also in the healthy population interested me. Peak performance and assisting those interested in being “better than well” became a goal. As such, the Kerlan-Jobe Center for Sports Neurology and Pain Medicine was born.

I have also augmented my clinical accomplishments with teaching and training activities. I founded and direct the Kerlan-Jobe Sports Neurology Fellowship Program, only the second of its kind in the United States. I routinely educate physician specialists as course director and/or lecturer at national and international meetings. I also enjoy educating the lay public through community-based talks and seminars focused on concussion, safe participation in sports and pain management. Finally, I carefully designed and grew a non-traditional form of “teaching” by developing a medical-legal consultative practice. I perform medical records reviews, Independent Medical Examinations, expert reports, expert witness testimony, second-opinion evaluations, and attorney consultative services as part of this practice. It provides me with the opportunity to use my communication skills and “teach” by taking complex medical information and providing expert, objective, and non-biased information in a way that is valuable and understandable to all stakeholders, including adjusters, attorneys, judges, jury members, and/or mediators and arbitrators.

For the past 20 years, I have made the field of Sports Neurology my life’s work. I am actively engaged in researching and developing innovative and effective treatments and technologies that help people recognize symptoms of a neurological injury sooner, so that the work of treating them can happen faster, and with less potential for permanent damage.

I serve as a neurological medical consultant to local professional sports organizations such as the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings and Los Angeles Sparks. I also assist local college and numerous high schools and youth sports/club athletic teams in this capacity. Living and breathing this field of medicine means striving to educate every athletic population I can about the need for serious attention to neurological injury risks in players at every level of the game.

Visit Dr. Vernon Williams for more information.

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Sports Attorney Jason Belzer is Today’s Honoree

JasonBelzerJason Belzer is a sports attorney and founder of GAME, Inc., where he works on the business of college sports. Jason runs one of the biggest college basketball tournaments in the country, manage the careers of dozens of coaches, and consult in the building of successful programs throughout the college football and basketball landscape. Belzer also helps universities better protect student-athletes with Collegiate Sports Advisors (CSA) and teach Sports Management at my Alma mater, Rutgers University. Jason also shares his insight in Forbes Magazine as a Sports Business Contributor. You can follow Jason on twitter: jasonbelzer, or Circle Me on Google+


• Strategic Alliances, Joint Ventures & Partnerships
• Competitive Analysis & Market Planning/Development
• Major Event Planning and Risk Management
• NCAA Compliance, Academic & Diversity Consulting
• Negotiation of Large Event Contracts and Employment Agreements
• Broadcast and Digital Media Rights Acquisition and Negoitation
• Multi-Tiered Sponsorship & Marketing Strategies
• Intellectual Property & Trademark Law
• Creative Branding, Public Relations & Marketing Communications

GAME, Inc. which specializes in the career management and marketing of coaches. We anticipate opportunities for our clients and promote their candidacy. Our clients are committed to success — both on and off the court and playing field. GAME concentrates on minimizing their distractions. Employment agreements, media and press relations, shoe and apparel contracts, personal appearances, television and radio shows. We evaluate potential relationships with a commitment to the long-term personal and financial well-being of our clients.

GAME, Inc. produces and manages all aspects of the Postseason Tournament (CIT), a 32 team Division I postseason college basketball tournament, televised on CBS Sports Network, which is played nationally during the month of March.

GAME also co-produced Rivalry On Ice, a college hockey match between Harvard University and Yale University played at Madison Square Garden (MSG) and televised nationally on NBC Sports Network.

Visit Jason Belzer for more information. 

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Author and Speaker Desiree Lee is Today’s Honoree

DesireeLeeI AM DESIREE LEE, LLC is a society enrichment initiative, designed to derail young people from making decisions of crime and transforming our youth into rewarding citizens of society. By using Desiree Lee as a visual aid, this method has proven to be a resourceful tool that helps students retain the image of heading down a destructive path, with a message of inspiration wrapped in a package unlike any we’ve seen before. Ms. Lee provides each student the experience of life as an inmate, and appreciate their educational opportunities. Not the typical “Scared Straight” approach, instead focusing on the strengths of each student to highlight strategies for growth.Offering solutions to apply towards students daily lives in the midst of current limitations.This in turn brings about an effective solution to improve and transform the lives of our community into a more productive place to grow. 

Focused Topics:

  • Criminal Risks
  • Family & Educational Dynamics
  • Prison Preventative Solutions
  • Get Up & Grow 

A former high school student, on her way to college in pursuit of THE AMERICAN DREAM. At 17 years old, she graduated with a 3.8 GPA and two basketball scholarships, quickly found herself on the wrong side of the law. A ten minute decision that severely affected her parents, younger brother and ultimately her promising future. Reaching an all-time low, Desiree Lee encountered another decision. To either throw in the towel or wipe the sweat off of her face. She chose to keep going and embraced her past mistakes, instead of continuing to walk the journey under a cloud of shame. Ms. Lee has worked tirelessly over several years and is thrilled to introduce Prison Prevention Initiative.

Author Desiree Lee of “INMATE 1142980: The Desiree Lee Story” is a well sought after inspirational keynote speaker. A dynamic, life changing, purpose driven publication, for every child, teenager, young adult, and parent. When not delivering upbeat inspiring presentation for audiences across the country, Desiree can be seen on ATLANTA LIVE TV 57, A Woman’s Place with award winning television host Angela Rice, and Victorious Living with host Nicole Paige. Desiree Lee is seen shared the platform with Judge Greg Mathis during Praying for Our Children Winter Gala, in Orlando, FL. National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc Chattanooga, TN. Judge Penny Brown Reynolds 2014 Sister Talk Conference, Atlanta, GA.

Best Selling Author, Inspirational Speaker, and Family Dynamic Coach. Ms. Lee is a living example of overcoming personal experiences with a criminal background, low self-esteem and defeat. Sharing with every teen, how one careless decision can alter their lives permanently. Her heart pumps the passion that produces a positive change. Committed to impact, inspire and prevent young people from incarceration nationwide.

“I wouldn’t want any teen to go through what I’ve experienced in prison! I wouldn’t want any parent to experience what my parents went through seeing their child in prison!” –Dlee 

Visit Desiree Lee for more information.

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McKendree University Office of Multicultural Affairs Director Brent Reeves is Today’s Honoree

BrentBrent Reeves is the Director of  Multicultural Affairs & International Student Services at McKendree University. The Office of Multicultural Affairs and International Student Services work to encourage all students to participate in campus events and leadership opportunities. This office implements cultural activities that are of interest to non-majority groups of all kinds, sponsors meetings, training sessions and workshops that discuss issues of multiculturalism, diversity, leadership development and academic skills enhancement. The office also serves the needs of international students through advocacy, support, intervention, advising, leadership and access to opportunities in the United States.

Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m in Clark Hall, Room 115.


•   Co-sponsors campus-wide events that promote diversity and cultural awareness, such as the commemoration of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, Black History month and Hispanic Heritage month.

•   Sponsors meetings, workshops and training sessions that discuss issues of multiculturalism, diversity, leadership development and academic skills enhancement that are geared to student retention and degree attainment.

•   Plans free or low cost off-campus trips to student leadership conferences yearly that focus on ethnic heritage and self-pride.

•   Advises student groups such as the Black Student Organization (BSO) and the Black Men of McKendree (BMcK).

Visit Brent Reeves for more information.

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Neuberger Berman Wealth Advisor William Proctor is Today’s Honoree

WilliamProctorWilliam B. Proctor, Vice President, joined the firm in 2012. As a Wealth Advisor, Will works with high net worth individuals and families, foundations, endowments, and closely held businesses to design and coordinate the implementation of customized investment solutions. Prior to joining Neuberger Berman, he worked in marketing and client services at Glaxis Capital Management, LLC based in Sarasota, Florida. While at Glaxis, Will worked with high net worth clients as well as institutional investors. Prior to joining Glaxis, Will played two years of professional football in the Canadian Football League where he won the 2008 Grey Cup with the Calgary Stampeders. Will received his BS from Clemson University where he was the starting quarterback.

“My experience in both the investment industry and as a professional football player gives me a unique perspective on teamwork, commitment and dedication when it comes to serving our clients. Whether you’re a wealthy family, a foundation, an endowment or an institution, the need for sound advice is paramount. Our approach is simple: help clients achieve their unique investment objectives. In today’s quickly changing market environment, it is critical to have a tailor-fit solution to your investment needs—one that advances and protects your future.”

William B. Proctor, Wealth Advisor


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Hurt Used To Live Here Author Joyce Reed is Today’s Honoree

JoyceReedThe Journey of Joyce:

Using the words I recorded in journals and notebooks I kept as a young girl,

I now bare my soul within these pages by

sharing my truth. I share my personal struggles with the world

to help others and give them the support and love I

never felt as a young girl. I don’t want anyone to ever feel, what I felt growing up,

but in my years of healing I realize that I am certainly not the only one.

It was a lot of hurt and pain but there are ways to get through it, to do more than just survive.

Reclaim your worth, your dignity, your SELF. He will see you through it, andJoyceReedBookCover

He will put people in your path that will help along the way.

I am sharing my story with you, so others, who have judged me

without knowing the silent pain that I carried, will finally understand.

“Never judge a book by its cover, first open it and read it.”

So as the Bible says, I am making it plain, and writing it on tablets–

making my life that open book; a book that includes a vision of hope,

faith and victory that many desire, but few have claimed.

At the end of my story, you will have cried, laughed,

had chills or even gotten upset, feel hurt or feel loved.

But at the very end of it all I want you to take my words,

then write your own story,

or rewrite your story with a new path of healing, love, and faith.

Then you too can share with the world and change someone’s life.

It starts with a thought or the spoken word and ends with change.

In the beginning was the word. And the two most powerful words on the planet are:

I am.

Anything behind that should be positive.

So I will say that I am single mom of two wonderful boys,

I am a business owner, I am a writer, I am a college graduate, I am a friend,

I am a WOMAN, I am stubborn, I am real, I am a best friend,

I am loving, I am worthy, I am forgiving, I am A fighter, I am a beautiful,

“I AM” wonderful, I am GOD’s child

I am Joyce Reed and this is my journey.

Visit Joyce Reed for more information.

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Indiana State University Motivational Mentor Valerie Hart-Craig is Today’s Honoree

valeriehartcraigValerie Hart-Craig is a the Assistant Director of the Charles E. Brown African American Cultural Center here at Indiana State University, with a MA in Student Affairs & Higher Education, and BS in Sociology. Her specialties include that she is an  enthusiastic and knowledgeable public speaker and at the recent ISU Success x Talks  her topic was “There Are No Accidents Here: Embracing Your Destiny As A Scholar.” Other topics she presents on are Diversity Training, Sexual harassment & employment discrimination, Cultural sensitivity and Youth Empowerment & Leadership Development.

Valerie is committed to empowering students through experiential learning, and intrusive counseling. Previous experience also includes student organization advisement, not-for-profit work, diversity consulting, board development training, and event planning.

Valerie Hart-Craig is currently a member of Vigo Co. Literacy Coalition, 14th & Chestnut Community center board, & campus advisor to Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, and Sankofa peer mentoring group. She also serves as the President of the Greater Terre Haute NAACP where the aim is to Educate, Mobilize, and Grow the membership, constitute a powerful Grassroots Civil Rights Movement, and Energize the Nation through Activism, & Civic Engagement.

In Valerie’s Own Words:

“I am definitely “Every Woman”…it’s all in me. I am a believer who is fiercely loyal to those I love, & I believe that laughter…you know, the Real deep gusty laugh, can bring things back into perspective, and prayer can fix all the rest. This writing thing I do simply because I got a few things I wanna say, because when I get it off my dome, I can move forward…ya feel me?”

Visit Valerie Hart-Craig for more information.

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