WATERLOO — Concussions and head injuries are a hot topic of discussion when it comes to youth sports nowadays. Sadly, that wasn’t the case for the longest while as people simply didn’t know enough about them. Luckily that has changed, and no one is better to discuss the important issue than a man who has been at the forefront of getting the word out about both — Geneva native Ray Ciancaglini.
Ciancaglini is a former journeymen boxer who is 68 and suffers from chronic traumatic encephalopathy, better known as CTE. He spoke to students at Waterloo High School on Wednesday, delivering his message, which is something he is known for doing across the nation.
“Cheating only comes back to haunt you,” Ciancaglini said in reference to hiding concussion symptoms. “I cheated. I did everything wrong and it got me what I have — and I carry it the rest of my life. I rolled the dice where the wager far exceeded the prize.”
After the assembly, Ciancaglini stood out in the main lobby where he talked to numerous students and answered their questions. He stuck around until the last question was answered, another common theme for which he is known.
Waterloo Athletic Director Christal Kent helped arrange his appearance at the school, and was grateful that Ciancaglini spoke to the students — and more importantly that the students got something out of it.
“Our student body needs to understand the importance of concussion education,” Kent said. “They also need to understand, along with our staff, how important it is that it is not just athletes. This is affecting all students, right now a majority of the students that we have on concussion protocol are not athletes.
“One of the things under my umbrella when I took this position was the concussion management plan for the district. We have to do education, and Mr. Ciancaglini came to mind because he spoke here about 10 years ago. With him being so close and speaking nationally, I thought it would hit closer to home with our student body to have him tell his story.”
People will be able to read even more about this story soon. Andy Siegel recently wrote a book called “Second Impact: The Ray Ciancaglini Story,” which will be available on Amazon. The cost of the book is $8.99 and a portion of the proceeds will go to Ciancaglini’s foundation, The Second Impact.