Late business leader Pat Fallon supports brain injury research at HCMC

by Hennepin Healthcare

The late Twin Cities advertising executive Pat Fallon left a bequest supporting traumatic brain injury research at Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC). The Hennepin Health Foundation today announced a major gift from Pat to support the Rockswold Kaplan Chair for Traumatic Brain Injury Research at HCMC.

Fallon’s son, Duffy, was treated by HCMC in 2011 for a brain injury as a result of a hockey accident. At the time, Pat Fallon said they’d had a series of medical appointments elsewhere that brought little progress and a lot of frustration. “Our world changed once we got to HCMC’s Traumatic Brain Injury Center. Instead of telling him what he couldn’t do, the doctor said, ‘Duffy, I can help you.’’’ Today, Duffy has recovered fully and is a student at Boston College.

Established December 2014, the research chair was endowed by philanthropists Elliot and Eloise Kaplan and neurosurgeon Dr. Gaylan Rockswold and his wife Mary to enable continuation of the world-class brain injury program at HCMC. Dr. Rockswold spent 42 years at HCMC performing surgery and clinical and basic science research, most notably to develop the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for brain injury.

Dr. Uzma Samadani, a neurosurgeon whose research on concussion is receiving international recognition, is the Rockswold Kaplan Chair for Traumatic Brain Injury Research. Dr. Samadani published research that describes a method for assessing the severity of traumatic brain injury by measuring eye movements. It was recently announced that HCMC is the site of the nation’s largest single-center prospective study on concussion and brain injury.

“Pat Fallon’s generosity enables HCMC to attract world-class physician researchers who are developing new ways to identify and treat brain injuries,” said Jon L. Pryor, HCMC CEO.  “We are grateful for his investment in hope and healing and we are pleased that HCMC can continue to lead the way.”

Over 1.5 million Americans sustain a traumatic brain injury each year. Among children and young adults, brain injury is the leading cause of death and disability. Nearly 100,000 brain injuries occur annually in Minnesota. Sustaining a brain injury can be a life-changing event, and many patients will need specialized therapies for months or years.

Hennepin County Medical Center is a Level I Adult and Pediatric Trauma Center and healthcare system. HCMC treats more traumatic brain injury patients than any other hospital in Minnesota. Expertise spans the entire continuum of care for adult and pediatric patients, from prevention to emergency care, neurosurgery, critical care, rehabilitation and the Traumatic Brain Injury Outpatient Program.