The Executive Director of the Brain Injury Association of Maryland Bryan Pugh joins Nestor to discuss Brain Injury Awareness Month and how you can help victims locally who are suffering.
brain injury, people, concussions, maryland, cte, oysters, football, friends, long, florida state, tallahassee, sports, brain, years, game, brian, big, wife, families, oxygen
Bryan Pugh, Nestor Aparicio
Nestor Aparicio 00:01
What are you back at W en s, t, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive we are positively into March it means I’m back on the air, I’m tanned and well rested and losing my voice from spring and singing Springsteen songs on the road, but we are taking them out of the crabcakes we’re back out on the road. It’s all brought to you by our friends at the Maryland lottery, I got these fresh, they look so old school kinda like me when I don’t shave. It’s the lottery scratch offs. We’re gonna be giving these away on the Maryland crab cake tour. We were set up for families this week. Good old complication there. We’re gonna be getting back down to families that later in the month, I’m putting together a roster of crab cakes, crab soup, crab things, oyster things, food, things, beer things. In April in May, it’s all brought to you by our friends at the Maryland lottery conjunction with our friends at window nation, sometimes where the bucket hat 866 90 nation is the way to get them. You buy two and you get two free and it’s 24 months now 0% financing where their friends when they should do what I did back in August. And when you hit them, they can bring the windows fix it all but they can’t keep the spiders and the damn ants out. This time of years. I’m working on that. That’s another problem altogether. I missed radio row this year at Super Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens sent an email to the NFL and said don’t come anymore. 27 years. It’s a long story there will be a different and loud ending in all of that. But whenever I’ve gotten together with Krista winsky, former professional wrestler up at Harvard and talking about players and brain injuries and head injuries, they always say marches and marches the Awareness Month and I’ve got a local person here and I want to thank Karen sago for bringing Brian Pugh on He’s the Executive Director of the Brain Injury Association in Maryland. I’ve had a few occasions in real life with issues and we all hear cte cte and the concussion movie and Brian I know you won’t find this hard to believe in the National Football League but they didn’t like mathy Sports Radio guys like me over three decades talking on radio row about guys who had brain injuries in the National Football League. It’s I think they don’t want to talk about that movies were made about and but certainly in your world and where you are. It’s not just the football thing I more I’ve talked to people about this a car accidents and concussions and sports and concussions and heading soccer balls and concussions and just how important our brains are. And I have a friend struggling right now childhood friend struggling with some issues. And I just want to welcome you on and tell you your works important and educate me today. Tell me where we are in 2023 here as we have a month where I know you want to shine some light on all of the issues of brain injuries here.
Bryan Pugh 02:48
Well, absolutely. And thanks so very much for having me on. So this is a great opportunity for us to share it is in fact, Brain Injury Awareness month for the entire month of March. We are trying to not only raise awareness around sports concussions, because there’s been so many stories lately, particularly with the you know, to attack of aloa. And even, you know, the mark Hamlin story has some some brain injury implications as well there. But we’re also trying to acknowledge that there are some additional brain injuries that are going on right now that people really aren’t putting together. And in even though COVID-19 kind of wipe the board of all other public health concerns, you know, the opioid overdose crisis is still impacting and creating new brain injuries every day. And that’s one of the things that we want to make that connection because you know, the opioid overdose, what it’s really doing is it’s removing the oxygen from the brain, the reason you pass out and have an overdose is that you’re no longer getting sufficient oxygen to your brain and creating what’s either an anoxic, which means no oxygen or hypoxic meaning not enough oxygen going to the brain. And you know, now with these new hyper drugs with, you know, fentanyl, and me combined with a variety of different things, these opioids, opioid overdoses are more critical and are taking longer and longer to recover from and
Nestor Aparicio 04:08
expecting to hear from you, by the way, right. So like, as I’m sitting here, right now, I’ve been doing this 31 years, not that I’ve heard the speech before or not. But nobody’s ever heard of fentanyl five years ago, right, like, and then what’s the long term? So okay, you took fentanyl, you didn’t die? What happened?
Bryan Pugh 04:23
Well, and so what happens is, depending on how long you’ve been out how long it took you to, you know, if you had an approximately the lock zone that was able to bring you back, let’s say you were out for 510 1520 minutes, we’ve had people down as long as 2025 minutes. That’s like being on the bottom of a pool for 25 minutes. And so you they bring you up, and you know, so not only do you have the substance abuse disorder, but then you’ve also got this brain injury. And so, you know, we’re familiar with treating people with substance abuse disorders, you know, you get them, you get them sponsors, you get them into meetings, maybe you get some additional drugs, but they don’t have you know, they don’t have the knowledge about the brain injury piece too. And then some of the things that actually happened To try and treat the substance abuse disorder can can adversely affect people with brain injuries. And so it’s a huge issue. It’s a huge thing that people aren’t recognizing it’s a two part problem. They’re sort of facing the issue of the the overdose, but they’re not really recognizing the Brain Injury component.
Nestor Aparicio 05:15
You know, my audience is always used to me talking about sports and you know, my sports stuff and ravens stuff, obviously, with Lamar Jackson right now performs, and people read about and hear about it, and I think there’s a lot you know, I saw concussion 10 years ago. Well, what time’s the game on? Can I bet on it? The Damar Hamlin thing, it felt different for five minutes, kind of like politics and anything else in the news cycle and whatever. I mean, we you know, we had an insurrection here that seemed to kind of come and gone and the guy started to lump presents. So like things come and go, You know what I mean? The Damar Ham was a man when we were in that day or two numbers and I’m watching the combine and his teammates, Jordan Parrish trying to get hired. I, my wife and I are out having a taco Nacho Mama’s the other night and I see the three and they got burned about the players and it felt so gladiatorial and they stopped the game and sent everything home and we all prayed, and we all like all of that. Yeah. Wait, before we did the show. I’m going to out you right now. Brian, pew, you, you football fan. You You were asking me about Lamar and like all that. Sure, dude, you’re in a brain injury. Business, right? Like and you know what I mean? Like there’s, I’m in the sports business. And I remember when Howard Cosell just got tired of guys beating each other senseless in boxing matches. I feel that way about MMA when I watch MMA, I can’t watch it. And then I’ve had some conversations with people saying, that’s disturbing to me. That’s someone’s child. That’s like, that’s just not that that’s not going to have a good ending. I always feel that way. When I watch these gladiatorial things, where are you on football, Mr. Brain Injury guy? I mean, you love football, and I think it makes us all a little. You know, Bob Costas?
Bryan Pugh 06:59
Awesome. I gotta tell you, you know, I was a dyed in the wool football fan growing up. We were season ticket holders of the Florida State Seminoles for over a decade when we lived down in Florida. We came up here we made friends with Coach Harbaugh. Our daughters played softball together. So we were in and around it up here. We recognize it. We knew that it was a huge uplift for the city when they when they were able to bring back a team after losing the Colts the result? Rear literally. Exactly. And it’s a huge it’s a huge opportunity for the city. And it’s a great point of pride. But it but the reality is I’ve really had a change of heart on it in many ways. And it’s been really difficult. I will tell you, it’s much easier for me to be able to be against MMA to be against boxing, because that sport is designed to give someone a brain injury. I win when I give you a brain injury when I knock you out, and people are, you know, touted on those, you know, 35 No knockouts, you know, and that means that I gave 35 concussions so that that’s easier to football I think is a little bit more challenging. Particularly for because there is you know, there’s strategy and there’s, you know, there’s grace, and there’s beauty and there’s athleticism that’s wrapped up in all of that. There’s also violence, it’s sort of lead, it’s a violent sport, and you know, you get down and you start looking at, you know, the CTE Encephalopathies encephalopathy center up in Boston, you know, they’ve looked at, I believe, what is it 385 brains and 365 of those have had CTE.
Nestor Aparicio 08:35
I’ve had Chris on the show many times. Yeah. And so
Bryan Pugh 08:38
the numbers is like 90% of the brains that they’re looking at that have been donated to them from sports figures. You know, when we just had Irv cross, you know, one of my heroes growing up one of the first black sports newscasters who only Phyllis George and Brent Musburger and CBS Sports. He that was a huge thing. He was a Philadelphia Eagle. And even though he died of a heart attack, you know, when they did it, he had stage four CTE.
Nestor Aparicio 09:00
He sat in my studio for three hours one day and I literally touched the tape. It’s crazy. You would say his name. He was uh, you know, obviously, I mean, I’m 54 Right. So, I grew up with Jeff tangibles in the game, so like I had a rough Cross came sat in my studio down at the Lord Baltimore hotel when I was on WL G. This he was an investor in the CFL. So when the CFL came in the stallions, he was a part of trying to be a part of that league. And when we so he sat in my studio, and I found the old tape and I thought, if I if I transcribe it, if I get that and put that out his greatest hits, when people want to listen to herb Krause, and I’m thinking, I better get that done. Now that you’ve mentioned that, I didn’t realize that he was diagnosed with CTE and that makes any of these guys
Bryan Pugh 09:49
out. Absolutely. And so and now, you know, the the counter argument is, you know, that the only people that think they have CTE are sending their brains to the institute that but you know, time and time And time and time and time and time again. And then we continue to see things like what to it was just it was that was awful. And that was after, after all of the stuff that we talked about concussion that’s after the movie. That’s after all the the players Fund was created to try it. You know what I mean? And they send these
Nestor Aparicio 10:17
guys back into game and it feels like four days later. I
Bryan Pugh 10:21
mean, we all saw it happen in the bills game. We saw what happened in the bills game. And then four days later, they turn around and send them back in against the Bengals. And then when I were standing over him, and yeah, I think, you know, I’m getting, you know, like I said, we were, you know, my family was love football, we grew up playing football and loving football, but it’s really kind of turned the tide. And certainly, since I’ve been Executive Director for the last 12 years, it’s really kind of, I really am conflicted about it, I really am conflicted about it, because I don’t appreciate, you know, us objecting, you know, these wonderful athletes, you know, to this, this punishing, punishing, without any changes.
Nestor Aparicio 11:02
You know, I’m 22 years out on writing Purple Rain one and the Ravens winning the first Super Bowl here. And, you know, Coach Bill has been my partner for a long time here. And, you know, players associated with that era are my age, they just are Matt Stover. I mean, some younger than me, Kyle Richardson and Mike Flynn are a little younger than a couple of guys. But in that era, guys that are friends of mine, Dwayne Starks I saw a couple of weeks ago. And I mean, these are, I mean, we lost goose, right, you know, recently. And so I mean, I’m of that era, there’s a player I know of that era, who’s got problems. And it’s so disturbing to me. Because this is, this is one of my guys, you know, I mean, like, you know, I remember good times memories, the barn things that were said, Knights that went out, you know, it’s there. It was almost 30 years later, 27 years since they came to town. But it’s different when it’s humanized in that way. And I’ve been sitting in radio row for 27 years where doctors have come up the winsky, bringing people by trying to save lives, drug addicts, all the things that you would see in the NFL wives. Sylvia Mackay, right. I mean, Sylvia has been on my show many, many times. John was on my show when he was of the right mind, many, many years ago. So and I saw him lose his mind, I was at a block event where he got behind the drum kit started banging on drums, and he’s so big and so strong. And I just, I felt for his wife, I thought my god like every day, and this is football, and I sit here I’ve glorified it for a long, long time. We all do we ball. But but this is this is real. And you see it come to your, your desk in a in a non football parlance for this month. What should people know about brain injury? And I know you have the Maryland brain injury Trust Fund as well. What should people what’s an activation point for people that don’t have a friend who played football or where they are, they’re just out there listening, and they want to be helpful in some way? Well, so
Bryan Pugh 13:03
you know, what’s really interesting is, you know, what we have found repeatedly, and you even mentioned it, everybody knows somebody who’s had a brain injury, or somebody who’s had a stroke, or somebody who’s had brain cancer, or somebody who’s had an operation and what that does to them. And the changes, you see, you see that happen? You see what occurs, and it’s it’s heartbreaking. What we find is it’s incredibly challenging for the family members. But for us, brain injury is a community injury because I can no longer be the cantor at my temple, I can no longer do my Boy Scout trips, I can no longer you know, Coach my daughter’s basketball team, because I just don’t have the capacity. It’s the quality of life change. It is it is a it’s a trajectory change for the community. And that’s why we think it’s so important to talk about it, you know, you know, estimates are as high as 605,000 families in Maryland living with somebody who has had a brain injury. And we talked about acquired brain injury and that sort of the cumulative types, where we’ve got, you know, the umbrella of brain injury because we have traumatic brain injury, which is your concussions and your mild traumatic brain injuries, which we talked about in sports, but the acquired brain injuries when you talk about strokes, when you talk about aneurysms when you talk about those variety of things. So everybody knows somebody, and it’s very likely related to somebody who’s had a brain injury in some capacity. So when you’re out when you’re looking to outreach, there’s a variety of things you can do. You can start our website, bia md.org. We’ve got lots of resources and information for people have questions. We started 40 years ago, we were started by families who had kids with brain injuries who really didn’t have anywhere to turn in 1983. So they turned to themselves. They created an 800 number. We’ve been answering that phone number for 40 years. It’s 800-221-6443 and we get around 300 phone calls a month, talking to people that are just reaching out looking for looking for help. One of the The things that you can do right now that we’re trying to raise awareness around is the brain injury Trust Fund for individuals that have either exhausted their insurances or unable to get the things that they need, particularly case management, which is coordinating care to try. And because if your brain is not working, and your family’s trying to, you know, keep bread on the table, and keep the jobs so they can keep insurance, there’s really, it’s really hard to keep up with all the different things that are required. And so case management is a primary tool. And so the brain injury Trust Fund was created several years ago to try and provide resources for individuals that have exhausted their insurance or incapable of getting those kinds of services. And right now, we’re aiming for $500,000, to be able to start using that money to to help individuals. And we’ve partnered with the Department of Health has partnered with the Department of Transportation, and then when you do your vehicle registration, you have an opportunity when you check out to donate. And we’ve been really, really lucky. And we’ve got 1000s of people have donated when we initially did it, it was a $1 donation, but now we’ve upped it to any amount that you can and so now the average donation is about $11. And so we’re fast approaching halfway point of our 500,000 to be able to start helping people so if you’re renewing your vehicle registration, it’s really easy to do. It’s one of the boxes you can check, you know, add a couple of bucks and every dollar Every dollar helps.
Nestor Aparicio 16:28
He is Brian Pugh. He’s Executive Director of the Brain Injury Association of Maryland. You can find them at at bia md.org I’ll be throwing a link out on our Twitter as well. This year celebrating the 40th anniversary self serving Maryland families confronting the challenges of acquired brain injuries. We talked so much about football and and all this so I caught this in a conversation because I listened when I have guests on Tallahassee what’s the best oyster you’ve ever eaten?
Bryan Pugh 16:56
I need to know. Yes, oyster I’ve ever eaten. Well,
Nestor Aparicio 17:00
I’m gonna do an oyster tour this summer. So I’m sure you know, I’ve done the crab cake thing. Couple years. I’m gonna continue to do the crab cakes or but in August, it’s my 25th anniversary. I know you guys don’t want 40 there. So I’m gonna go out and like eat some oysters. So So here’s
Bryan Pugh 17:12
the challenge. Okay. Apalachicola had to pull it right down to the tablets cool is the best but you don’t eat oysters with a month that doesn’t have an R
Nestor Aparicio 17:22
in it. That’s urban legend.
Bryan Pugh 17:25
Hey, you know what if it works anyway, that’s so we wouldn’t we wouldn’t. We wouldn’t eat oysters in August. We’d wait for an hour and a month. But anyway, yeah, Apalachicola Bay is the best oysters you can get. Actually cat fish and shrimp are fantastic and Tallahassee that’s that’s really where you want to go. And you know, go down to you know, go down to trying to think well we did cat fish paddles where we used to go and we were in Tallahassee Cafe nice.
Nestor Aparicio 17:53
I was down there twice part of the world my buddy Peter bowl where I mentioned several champions he’s got his Toyota dealership standard killing it. He’s on Facebook all the time his kids are killing in sports. So there’s a little Florida State then we had primetime here for a couple minutes to
Bryan Pugh 18:06
we did briefly you know he seems like he’s got a jersey for everybody. But making his short tours but only
Nestor Aparicio 18:13
one college well actually started coaching college Right
Bryan Pugh 18:17
exactly. Now call it Colorado’s kind of grabbing grabbing the glory but it was already Florida State way back when when he was you know, and when he was with the Falcons and the Braves back and forth between you know, World Series football games. So
Nestor Aparicio 18:29
Brian, I had prime on the show over in Parkville. The party hill station. Really not on a Tuesday. Oh yeah. For Cody came out with Kordell Stewart. I’m still friends with them. All the audio was up he did 45 minutes of air with me and answer questions from the crowd prime that you just call me prime call me prime. So So I also did radio Rosso. Subprime was on the air with me last month, but I’ll just say this but Florida State I went to a football game there. I went down twice. I was there. I went in and out for a Senior Bowl and went drove over to Pensacola and over to mobiel I went that way. I was down in Panama City with the girlfriend back in the day and did the spring break thing and that’s when I was a spring break guy. I went to one game in Tallahassee SPAC when Maryland was in the ACC right we would go Yeah, sure. Sacrificial.
Bryan Pugh 19:18
We needed that everybody needed a W in the ACC so they played Maryland,
Nestor Aparicio 19:22
right. So here we come. We’re going down and this was one of the Ravens were playing in Jacksonville. 9899 I think 99 was the year we went down it was back to back so
Bryan Pugh 19:32
good. That was a good year. 99 was a good year Florida State football good weekend,
Nestor Aparicio 19:35
right so it was Saturday. We’re gonna go over to Tallahassee we’re gonna see Maryland play Florida State get killed. We knew that I think the final they didn’t give up 60 But they probably give a 48 it was like 48 the 14 or something like that. Right? Right. And this will Amman Jordan air I think for the Terps I think he broke one ran away from somebody because he had that kind of town. And then the next day we went over to Jax was so all I remember versus showing up there. The Terps are 24 Point underdog and they weren’t going to cover and they the horse comes out and Bobby Bowden’s Obata Bowden’s era, man that the horse in the stat and I, and I was like, Oh, no wonder nobody comes down here and wins, you know?
Bryan Pugh 20:16
Oh yeah, it was it was it was an amazing, you know, and it’s part of the spectacle. And again, you know, it’s part of the spectacle of football. You know, we just as you had Ray Lewis out there with the big explosions and walking in His dance, you know, the chief Osceola and, and Renegade throwing the flaming spear down. It’s, it’s a, it’s a real, it’s a real huge thing. So yeah, it’s a big deal. And, you know, we’re still kind of, I think, disgruntled about, you know, Kansas City stealing the tomahawk chop. But, you know, that’s
Nestor Aparicio 20:48
whether Ted Turner and Jane, I don’t know who I you know, I don’t know. Yeah, I don’t know how that got over there. Or incorrect, wherever it is. So right, right. Oh, Mr. Snyder, that as well down the road. But hey, I want to promote what you’re doing here. The brown Brain Injury Awareness Month, right? So was talking point for you just off of that, how long’s brain injury month been going on and just during the course of the month is keeping awareness and having it be, maybe think of somebody that’s had this happen in their life, and maybe
Bryan Pugh 21:19
helpful? Absolutely. And so, you know, again, you can reach out to us either a phone number or a website, if there’s somebody that’s looking if you know, somebody who’s who’s going through some challenging times, you know, one of the things that we also want to recognize is, you know, COVID, has created new brain injuries as well. So people are talking about brain fog and the long haulers. And so if you know, somebody who’s, you know, who’s really having a rough time, getting back into things, somebody’s coming off of a bad car accident or a motorcycle accident, and they’re really struggling, those are the kinds of folks that we want to make sure that they know that they’re not alone, because it’s very isolating, because you know, you may lose your job, you may lose your friends, you may lose access to work, and it starts, you know, and you stopped doing the social things that you can do. And so reach out to us, we have a variety of different opportunities for caregivers, support groups, we have individuals with brain injury support groups, we’ve got mentor support groups. And so there’s, there’s a lot of opportunities, so you’re not alone. And and we do have people that can talk to you, in whatever capacity whether it was last week, whether it was 10 years ago, whether it was 25 years ago, as you’re wrestling with these issues, we certainly have all kinds of resources available. So that’s really our main messages. You’re not alone. And then our big event is our conference, the 22nd 23rd and 24th, and Pikesville. It’s one of the largest brain injury conferences, we have over, I think, 40 speakers over the course of three days. And we have something for everybody we try to program into individuals that can speak to people with brain injuries. We have caregivers, health care providers, we offer continuing education units for health care providers. And over the course of the three days, we got some really great speakers. And so I would encourage, take a look at our website, and if it’s something you’re interested in, it’s a great opportunity to learn more about brain injury from people all over the country. Why can’t any
Nestor Aparicio 23:07
progress without any focus on it? Right? So bringing people together and you ask is Are things getting better treatments getting better? Sure they are, you know, but the best thing is don’t have one and support people to do so I guess right? If
Bryan Pugh 23:19
you if if your sport has a helmet, please wear it. That’s our that’s our creed. You know, it’s like if your sport has a helmet wear it, because you only get one brain. And it can happen anytime, anywhere to anyone. You know, it’s not socio economic status. It’s not race, creed, color, sex, national origin or preference. It’s anybody it can be slipping on ice next weekend. Absolutely. And we have plenty of those plenty of those. Yeah. All right. Well, listen,
Nestor Aparicio 23:42
great chat, had some fun, had some oysters had a little football on the on the dark side of football, which I think we all have seen. And I want to give a shout out to my wife because you mentioned long haul, long haul and COVID My wife had leukemia twice and a battle for life and just awful way that I don’t even want to we don’t think about too much. It’s been nine years now eight years now. A second battle. But but but the chemo brain you don’t I mean, it’s absolutely
Bryan Pugh 24:08
that’s a very real real thing. A real thing. And you combine that with leukemia and the inability I mean, it’s about, you know, blood problems not being able to get oxygen to the right places, you know, and the greediest the greediest oxygen person organ is the brain. And so if, if you’re not getting insufficient oxygen, you’re having blood issues. There is trouble and chemo brain and those kinds of issues are absolutely an issue.
Nestor Aparicio 24:33
All right, well, you can reach firstname.lastname@example.org He is Brian Pugh. He’s Executive Director of the Brain Injury Association of Maryland Say that three times Brain Injury Association of Maryland. That’s where you get the big a big A Mm hmm. That’s a mouthful. Oh, we
Bryan Pugh 24:52
were big. But we had Mississippi and Michigan fighters for it. So we just went ahead and tacked on the D so there
Nestor Aparicio 24:58
you go. Put the D on there. All right, you guys Turn off D and.org. You can find them it is Brain Injury Awareness month here in March and I’m delighted to have Brian aboard big appreciation to Karen for setting that up as well. I’m setting up the Maryland crappy tour. They have these these incredibly $5 million scratch offs. So these things were 50 bucks and I literally was at a truck city though they were George photius like who would buy the $50 structures if he can’t keep him in. So these are also going on and also the $2 old school instant lottery scratch offs and it’s the 50th anniversary we’re doing the Maryland crab cake tour. We’re gonna have some new dates I had to move the family’s event this week also our friends at window nation 866 90 nation if you want to replace your windows it’s time I had mine done last August. I tell you what, bills in the winter heating and all that now that it’s spring somebody come and get the spiders in the end the answer to my Windows and we’ll have all that done but a winter nation you buy two and you get two free and 24 months 0% financing 866 90 nation and our friends at Windy nation. I look a little funny in the floppy hats I’m not gonna wear that’s a serious conversation we’re having here I am Nestor we are wn sta and 1570, Towson Baltimore. Yes, we talk more than just Lamar Jackson around here. That makes us cool. We’re Baltimore positive.com Stay with us.