Logan Couture

Logan Couture Going All In For Brain Research

Greg Bowman

London can be a hub of sorts for celebrities in the athletic world, which is why San Jose Sharks’ centremen Logan Couture is coming back to his hometown for the second annual All In For Brain Research charitable event.

After roaring success in its first year of operation, the All In For Brain Research event is coming back to London. It is a black-tie optional event that has local celebrities dress up and run casino games for an evening of light-hearted wagering, food, drinks and lots of fun.

Most athletes go the direction of a celebrity golf tournament to raise money for a charitable cause, but Couture elected to go with the casino night to spruce things up. The issue with the golf tournament is that it’s very exclusive, plus it’s a long day for the athletes involved, who are already busy enough as it is. The biggest drawback to a day on the links is that there is limited community involvement; a casino night brings members of the city to the notable people, which, in turn, draws a lot more community support. Plus, it’s not every day that you get a hand of blackjack dealt by Eric Lindros himself.

Big E is one of the many celebrities who will be at the event. Along with the NHL Hall of Famer, there will be Norris Trophy-winning defenseman Drew Doughty, Columbus Blue Jackets player Boone Jenner, Couture’s Sharks teammates Chris Tierney and Dylan DeMelo, plus Canadian Olympians Damian Warner, Alex Kopacz and Lanni Marchant. There will also be a couple of members of the Western Mustangs football team as quarterback Chris Merchant will try his hand at dealing more than just footballs, along with his coach, Greg Marshall.

The co-chair of the All In For Brain Research is Jeff Fisher, who is an athlete-business mogul of sorts in London. Not only is he the representative of Couture, Warner and other local talents, he is also the co-founder of the Champions Club, which is a money-raising initiative to support Western’s football program. With the growth that his event has seen in just one year of operation, they are holding a second casino night in Kitchener. Fisher hopes that events like this will be able to thrive in other cities in Canada. He says he’s already fielded calls from Hamilton, Ottawa and Edmonton about bringing an All In For Brain Research night to their city.

The diverse group of athletic talent will all be there in hopes of shining more light on the dark reality that is head injuries in sports. While most would assume they would be more prevalent in contact sports such as football and hockey, they are a risk in every sport.

Concussions and head injuries are a newer area of study when it comes to athletics. While they are a newer focus, they are a dangerous one. Logan Couture suffered a concussion this past season and had to go through the rigorous process of assessments and tests all to determine the severity of the injury and when he would be able to return. The beneficiary for the All In For Brain Research night will be the See The Line foundation run out of Western’s Schulich School of Medicine. The name of the foundation stems from the current process of assessing concussions which involves following a trainer’s finger to see if the athlete is able to focus. This is one of many steps in concussion protocols, but researchers are trying to develop quicker, and more sure-fire methods of diagnosing concussions and brain injuries.

London prides itself on being one of the top brain-research hubs in the nation, with organizations such as Fowler Kennedy Sports Medicine, the Lindros wing of University Hospital, and Western University with it extensive neuroscience department.

The All In For Brain Research will be held on Thursday, August 16th at Centennial Hall on 550 Wellington st. There will be a red carpet that will give fans an opportunity to meet some of their heroes, followed by an evening full of cocktails, food, dancing and, of course, some gambling. The celebrities will be the ones who are running the tables, making it a unique dynamic for participants. All the proceeds from the event go straight to the See The Line foundation to further develop concussion and brain research.

Go All In For Brain Research, before you bust!