Monday, October 10, 2022

Who is Ray Ciancaglini in the World of Concussion Awareness?

Each season, the INTEGRATIVE PAIN HEALERS ALLIANCE nominates inspirational speakers, educators or advocates whose commitment to supporting public health and safety awareness is noticed by a wide spectrum of audiences.  We are proud to announce our latest ROLE MODEL, Mr. Ray Ciancaglini of Geneva New York for his tireless crusade in reaching our youth and sharing his wisdom and experiences about sports related brain injury. 

In an exclusive interview with Ray, he shared his launch as an up-and-coming boxing champ, his plight  with CONCUSSION and his life-saving educational crusade to his road to advocacy. "...when you're tough and you think you're tough- that's a boxer's heart that keeps you going. I dealt with the punishment that I was receiving (on and off the ring)- I had no idea that concussion was cumulative." 

I started out getting involved in some local amateur fights- and then by the age of 16, I pretty much had everything going for me. I'd vibe for two golden glove titles and seemed to be on my way. As an amateur, I think I ended up 31 or 33 and nine with four draws. Then I ran into some trouble and I failed an EEG test by the New York State Boxing Commission. They didn't want to give me a boxing license in NYS till I passed that test and went before another hearing, which was a one year suspension along with it. I took the advice of some old-timers who told me to go down south where they didn't have some boxing commissions or these rules and regulations.  They suggested to change my name and then when I came back to retake the test, I'll be sharp as ever- and be on top of my game. But that didn't happen because I carried a lot of symptoms with me. 

"Many athletes do not understand or take seriously the possible repercussions of hiding or playing though a concussion. They sometimes feel that they are invincible or that they are tough enough to gut it out. I was once one of those athletes. For many years, I have been battling Dementia Pugilistica and Parkinson's Syndrome. These progressive disorders are the direct result of my not addressing concussions properly as a young boxer.  Athletes need to be honest about any concussion symptoms with their coaching staff and Athletic Trainer and not attempt to hide a concussion. Through my talks, student athletes will understand the importance of addressing a concussion promptly and properly. I strongly recommend that they follow their school concussion program and their doctor's instructions to ensure a safe return to play. Education is the key."   See:

*Interviewer: Josh Schueller, PT (editorial team @

What is Concussion-Associated
By: Ray Ciancaglini 

The first concussion was mild and it was a little bit of a headache and some fatigue. I got stunned but never been knocked out or knocked down, so that kind of fooled me here. Um, and then one week later in Syracuse, I got my bell rung again for the second time in one week.  Only this time, it was a little bit more serious. And from being a well behaved high honor student, things changed. After that night, I started failing on all my courses, started sleeping excessively, and then I developed an attitude especially toward authority figures, and couldn't explain why. And, uh, this just lasted with me till I retired from boxing in 1974. From here, it got progressively worse.

After enough medical evaluations and care, everything was going well until one day, I wanted to adjust being under these meds. I felt I can do it now, so I did a dangerous thing which is to stave off the medicine without telling anybody. Luckily, my wife picked it up right away. She said, "--you're a different person... I could tell right away from your eyes, what she called SHARK EYES!  You have this glare like you're in a pre fight weigh in, like you're staring the opponent down. Everyone was afraid of this and so was I. I could hurt somebody out of impulse and I never would want to do that."  I was easily angered, unreasonable, stubborn and defiant. Nobody could tell me what to do.  I was short tempered and irritable such that one day, I walked to the next room and a door swung back and hit me on the wrist-- and by some heated impluse, I punched a hole right through it!  Needless to say, I got back on the medication after those outbursts. If punching a hole through a door meant a lack of self control, this was enough to point out that there's definitely something wrong with me.  

By: Dr. Michael Gruttadauria

Most people believe that you need to be knocked unconscious to have a concussion- and that's just not the case.  Even a “small” impact injury, what they call mild traumatic brain injury or mild concussion affects thousands and thousands of people every month.  From falls accidents, sports, assaults-- many different things can cause concussions. Something called POST-CONCUSSIVE SYNDROME can happen from these mild traumatic brain injuries that may appear to resolve themselves. As far as the symptoms go, most people end up with headaches, blurry vision, dizziness or lightheadedness. After about a week, these symptoms tend to usually go away. But up to 30% of people have persistent symptoms. And those persistent concussion symptoms can be the same things like headaches and dizziness, but it actually can progress into anxiety and depression and changes in personality and so on. This is really when we need to get involved.

With high impact sports like boxing and football and soccer, where you have repetitive blows to the head, there are studies that are actually show that repetitive concussive forces can actually be additive. You can have an additive effect. It doesn't have to be one giant impact where you might see a wide receiver going over the middle and catching a soccer ball. Getting violently laid out by a linebacker may not even be as bad as the offensive and defensive linemen that are banging their heads against each other for 60 plays a game, per se. We we're all differently susceptible to concussion. Somebody could have what would appear to be a more minor concussion and have greater symptoms for a longer period of time, as opposed to a really significant concussion. (See complete article)


Brain trauma is recognized as a ticking time bomb for a growing list of progressive disorders. The medical community is stepping up with new diagnostic strategies and even more advanced research to detect POST-CONCUSSIVE DISORDERS. One protocol is identifying irregularities through DOPPLER BLOOD FLOW IN THE RETINAL , BASILAR  AND TEMPORAL ARTERIES and detecting asymmetry of the OPTIC NERVES with 3D Ultrasound. Here, we monitor the blood flow of certain key areas of the body, offering some answers to the immediate post-impact status and long term post traumatic pathology of  our patient.  This data also helps us with the possibility of detecting future disorders like cognitive decline, neurodegenerative issues and the gut-brain axis. (See complete report on Dr. Bard's Concussion imaging)

The Mind-Body Connection: 
Written by: Roberta Kline, MD

Analyzing STRESS & ANXIETY from a holistic point of view means identifying the body’s interconnected systems (ie. circulatory, cardiovascular, nervous, lymphatic, endocrine etc.) and its many touch points for stimulation.   This analysis should also offer a comprehensive breakdown of the body's HEALING capacity- which includes our hormones, digestive system, immune system, brain, heart-- all the way down to our cells and mitochondria.   STRESS is part of life, and comes in many forms including physical, emotional, mental and environmental. Foods we eat, unhealthy relationships, difficulties at work, toxins in our environment, even poor posture or lack of sunshine can all create stress on our bodies. But when stress is catastrophic or becomes chronic, it creates imbalances in this functioning that are much more likely to promote disease while at the same time preventing healing from taking place. 

With people under record levels of chronic stress, it is no wonder we have an epidemic of people suffering from all sorts of health issues and chronic diseases. Heart disease, diabetes, obesity, pain, anxiety, depression, infertility, cancer, autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s …. These are just some of the many health conditions that have been linked to diet and lifestyle including chronic stress.  But how does this work? And is meditation the answer to reversing this trend? Science is revealing some interesting clues. (See Dr. Kline's complete report on the Parasympathetic System)

Ringside Review: Why the Boxing Commissioner Called to "

The photo was a stunning one-in-a-million shot of a moment in time (as captured by the sports photographer, Stephanie Trapp).  Standing at the right place and at the right time, her lens managed to freeze multiple streams of explosive action that comprised Deontay Wilder completely obliterating Stiverne.  The empty, worn out 'rag-doll' form of Stiverne's flacid body laid melted and dangling senselessly from the bottom rope. Center frame was the referee (Arthur Mercante Jr.) airborne on top of the highly charged and powerful Wilder, desperately grappling on the aggressive champ with his own unremarkable body. "Mercante responded vigorously to my raising the hand in the air at ringside-- that's the signal to 'STOP THE FIGHT!'... any more than this would be unconscionable". (See complete OP-ED feature)

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