As you know, the Fund began as our class gift to Notre Dame on the occasion of our 50th reunion in 2016. Since then the University has allowed the Duranko Fund to develop into more than a one-time, reunion-related effort. To date, you and 348 other individuals have made 474 contributions totaling $221,323 to this good cause.
Raising this money has been a fitting way to keep alive the memory of our classmate Pete Duranko, an All-American at ND and an All-Pro with the Denver Broncos. Pete died in 2011 after having suffered from ALS and CTE, the degenerative brain disease linked to blows to the head.
The athletics department has used Duranko Fund dollars to better diagnose and treat concussions for the University's 750 varsity athletes. This summer, it is also funding a sleep study with select football student-athletes, conducted by world-renowned Notre Dame professor and sleep expert, Dr. Jessica Payne. See more on your impact through this study and other tools below:
Summer 2019 Sleep Study
Dr. Jessica Payne is working with Notre Dame Football this summer to educate student-athletes on the impact of sleep and to conduct a more in-depth study with select individuals. In her work, Dr. Payne has developed a deep body of research and understanding related to sleep behaviors and recovery, mental cognition, and injury prevention. In recent years, Notre Dame Football has taken steps to address sleep as a safety and performance issue. Interventions include asking student-athletes to log their sleep hours, creating a sleep/nap room in the Guglielmino Athletics Complex, and the acquisition of a salt-water float tank for recovery. A sleep study in partnership with Dr. Payne would allow the program to assess the impact of these interventions as well as other factors effecting rest for football student-athletes. The goal is to create an ideal environment to maximize health and human performance, which could serve as a blueprint for other populations in Athletics and on campus.
An integrated concussion-management system that provides reliable assessments of baseline and post-injury balance, memory function, reaction time, and visual activity.
A visual-assessment diagnostic tool that records the eye's ability to track a moving object, which can be impaired in some concussion cases.
Electroencephalogram (EEG) Cap
A device that supplies information to personalize concussion treatment with Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). This FDA-approved device has been shown to effectively combat depression and neuropathic pain among some concussion victims.
With fresh help from the Duranko Fund the athletics department would:
- Purchase new VCIS football helmets as needed. This protective head gear, worn for the first time last season, features an impact-absorbing outer shell and costs roughly twice that of the leading competitors. ND is now using more of these helmets than any other school.
- Acquire new treatments still in the developmental stage to mitigate the effects of head injuries among student-athletes.
If you would like to continue your support of this timely initiative you can do so in one of two ways, with all gifts made by December 31, 2019 qualifying donors for the 2020 football ticket lottery:
Notre Dame Athletics Advancement
113 Joyce Center
Notre Dame, IN 46556
*Please make checks payable to the Pete Duranko Fund for Student-Athlete Safety
Many thanks for your support of the Duranko Fund and your devotion to Notre Dame!
-Tom Bettag, Minch Lewis, Tom Sullivan, and John Twohey
Members, Class of '66 Duranko Fund Committee