New York Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney Award

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New York Traumatic Brain Injury Attorney Award from Presentation of the Brain Injury Association of New York State Public Policy Award

Marie Cavallo, Ph.D. President, Brain Injury Association of New York State:

The Brain Injury Association Public Policy Award, for community re-entry, inclusion and acceptance of persons with brain injury and their families. This year the award is given to Michael Kaplen, Esq.

Just in case you don’t know who this guy is standing next to me, besides being a great friend to the organization and to me and to a number of people in this room, Michael has shown incredible leadership in advocating for the rights of people with brain injury.

He’s well known to us as the Ex-President of the Brain Injury Association of New York State.  A position for which he served for eleven years, and I have to tell you, having done this for a few years now.  I so admire this man.

He has been a constant voice on behalf of individuals with brain injury and their families.  He has been incredible, obviously supportive of this Association.

After leaving the presidency of the Association, Michael was elected as Chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council, TBISCC.  It’s a body created by the law to provide guidance to the New York State Commissioner of Health on all matters related to brain injury services.   During this tenure, Michael has been integral in revamping, invigorating and increasing the role of the TBISCC Coordinating Council to improve the quality of life of people with brain injury.  The Council really has become more proactive.  It’s come to life once again in making recommendations to the Commissioner particularly in the areas of sports concussion management and the trust fund that we talked about earlier.

Michael is just incredible and an incredible friend to the organization and an incredible friend to people with brain injury and the families and everything that he does.   We really are very, very happy to give him this award.

Michael V. Kaplen, Esq. De Caro & Kaplen, LLP Chair, Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council, New York State:

Marie, thank you very much.  Thank you for all your hard work on behalf of the Association.  Judy, thank you.  Members of our board, members, thank you very much for this honor.  It’s truly appreciated.

I know I have only three minutes, but to keep an attorney down to three minutes is not the easiest thing in the world. But there’s another attorney over here who’s gonna do it for me, right!

There is a saying, with a lot of truth to it, “A brain injury is the last thing on your mind until it’s the only thing on your mind.”  And when we talk about brain injury, we really need to talk about three areas: prevention, education and advocacy on behalf of those persons who have sustained a traumatic brain injury.   Each is an essential component and as the Chair of the Traumatic Brain Injury Services Council, I try to keep that in mind at all times.

In my role as an advocate for persons with traumatic brain injury, thinking about this whole issue, writing about it in different op-ed pieces, and public appearances, I try to incorporate all three of these things and I will continue to do that on behalf of this Association and persons with traumatic brain injury.

So once again, I want to thank you for this honor, this award, and I look forward to continuing my association with this Association to work on behalf of persons with traumatic brain injury to improve the quality of their lives.