While Brain Awareness Week celebrates its 20th Anniversary March 16th through the 22nd, the problem of sports-related concussions continues to raise its ugly head. But it’s no longer due to a lack of education on the devastating long-term effects of brain injury. From youth to college to recreational to professional levels, there are still those who think that the goal of winning is worth the risk.


There has never been a doubt about the generosity of the gay community when a member is in trouble. Thanks go out to friends, teammates, even strangers for donating to Mike Petracca’s Go Fund Me page created to raise money for his mounting medical expenses. The 28-year-old member of the Firestorm, part of San Diego’s gay softball league, was critically injured in a freak accident at the Sin City Shootout in January.

While walking between fields, he was hit by an aluminum bat that flew almost 40 feet from a nearby field. Hitting him on the left temple, he collapsed to the ground and struck his head on the asphalt. Petracca was transported to a local emergency room for treatment of a skull fracture where emergency surgery was performed to reduce brain swelling. However, the damage was to the area of the brain controlling speech and he awoke with partial facial paralysis and unable to speak coherently.

As of this writing he is home and has family close by. According to the most recent update on his page, “His physical wounds are good, the right side of his body continues to get stronger and his facial paralysis appears to be improving.” While speech therapy is still intense, it seems that Mike is making progress and hopefully will be talking again soon although long-term impacts are still unknown.
If you would like to donate, go to


Congratulations go to Pennsylvania state representative Brian Sims for being one of three recipients of the American Bar Association’s (ABA) 2015 Stonewall Award honoring LGBT advancements in the legal profession. He is the first openly gay person elected to the state’s general assembly. While the announcement was made in September, Sims received the award in Houston last month at the ABA’s Midyear Meeting.

Holding a Bachelor of Science degree from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and a Juris Doctor degree in International & Comparative Law from Michigan State University College of Law, Sims is a former president of the board of directors of Equality Pennsylvania and a former chair of Gay and Lesbian Lawyers of Pennsylvania.

Sims has a long history of advancing LGBT awareness. During his undergraduate studies at Bloomsburg, the scholar athlete was co-captain of the football team and came out as gay. As the only out NCAA football captain he was able to talk openly with students, coaches and school administrators on issues of homophobia in college sports long before it was the accepted thing to do.

Of this latest honor Sims says, “… to receive the American Bar Association’s National Stonewall Award is one of the most humbling and proudest moments I’ve had as a professional. My whole life I wanted to be a civil rights attorney and being recognized by the ABA as an advocate and champion of justice is something I will cherish forever!”