Brain Bolt 5K Makes Huge Strides

On a beautiful, crisp morning last October, aneurysm survivors joined their families, physicians, and members of the community for the first ever Brain Bolt 5K run/walk hosted by Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine in Indianapolis. The day’s purpose and outcome were a perfect start to a new tradition.

“One of the goals of this inaugural event was to bring together patients, community members, and our Goodman Campbell team in the spirit of fostering awareness and celebrating those impacted by brain aneurysms,” said Nicholas M. Barbaro, MD, chairman of the Neurosurgery Foundation at Goodman Campbell.

 Our 210 race participants and generous sponsors helped raise more than $45,000 - a tremendous amount that we plan to succeed next year.

The 5K was kicked off with a welcome from Mitesh Shah, MD, neurovascular surgeon and president of Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine, and Thomas McGuinness, an aneurysm survivor who was cared for by the team at Goodman Campbell. Together they shared the poignant story of Thomas’ aneurysm rupture, treatment, and recovery. It is a story shared by hundreds of aneurysm patients in Indiana every year. 

Andrew Denardo, MD, an interventional neuroradiologist at Goodman Campbell, enthusiastically counted down to the start of the race. The runners sprinted across the start line followed by families with children in strollers and on bicycles. Cheers echoed through the crowd as the first runners crossed the finish line. The cheers continued as the aneurysm survivors, proudly wearing their red survivor t-shirts, completed the race hand-in-hand with their families.

The closing ceremony was led by two of the group’s neurovascular surgeons Drs. Troy Payner and Thomas Leipzig. As he spoke about the prevalence of brain aneurysms, Dr. Payner told the crowd he had just received an emergency phone call to alert him that a patient was being flown to the hospital with a ruptured brain aneurysm. Before Dr. Payner rushed away to meet the helicopter, those assembled paused for a moment of silence—sadly aware that another family may join their ranks and begin the difficult fight for survival and recovery. 

Race participants also wrote messages of love and hope in honor of family and friends who have suffered from a brain aneurysm. Their messages were tied to balloons to pay tribute to these individuals. While speaking about the history and purpose of the event, Dr. Leipzig invited brain aneurysm survivors to join him on the stage. In a powerfully moving moment, the survivors released the balloons. The crowd fell silent as the balloons and their messages floated away into the azure sky.

As a national leader in the number of aneurysm patients cared for annually, Goodman Campbell is dedicated to advancing the health of adults and children with neurosurgical disorders by providing superior care in a state-of-the-art environment of healing, teaching, and discovery. For more than 20 years, we have hosted an aneurysm support group for survivors and their families to offer continued care and support beyond the initial neurosurgical treatment.

Race proceeds were donated to the Neurosurgery Foundation at Goodman Campbell and the Brain Aneurysm Foundation in continued support of the brain aneurysm survivor community.


ThinkFirst, a National Brain & Spinal Cord Injury Prevention Program developed by America's neurosurgeons, reminds young people that you can have a fun and exciting life - and you can do it without hurting yourself, if you ThinkFirst and use your mind to protect your body. Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine is proud to support this important program in Indiana.

ThinkFirst is presented free in junior and senior high schools across the country and ThinkFirst for Kids is fully integrated into the curriculum for elementary students. Each grade (1-3) has an age-appropriate curriculum and an array of classroom activities designed to be integrated into various subjects, such as mathematics and science.

The complete program educates students about activities that place them at risk of a brain or spinal cord injury and consists of a 12-minute animated video, five individual safety modules, five posters and five comic strips depicting "Street Smart," an animated character who practices safe behavior. Modules address individual safety areas, including vehicular safety, water safety, bicycle safety, violence and sports and recreational safety. Learn more about the ThinkFirst program.

GCBS Neurosurgeons: Standing by on Court and Field

In addition to being dedicated neurosurgeons, our Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine physicians are ardent and devoted sports fans. For several surgeons, their devotion to sports shows in their activities in the community when the workday is done. They lend their expertise with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries to professional sports associations, such as the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL).

During fast-paced, highly competitive games, players often suffer from trips and falls on the basketball court or from tackling and blocking mishaps on the football field. Injuries can range from mild, moderate, or severe traumatic brain injuries, to spine injuries of the neck or lower back. All of these injuries,if not effectively treated, can disable players for life. For that reason, the National Institutes of Health advise that the “time between injury and treatment can affect the outcome” of the injury.

To ensure that athletes receive timely, expert care immediately after an injury, the following Goodman Campbell surgeons are standing by during games to assist the Indiana Pacers and teams in the NFL:

NBATeam Neurosurgeon for the Pacers: Jean-Pierre Mobasser MD.

NFLUnofficial Neurotrauma Consultants for the NFL: Saad Khairi, MD; Jean-Pierre Mobasser, MD; Richard Rodgers, MD; and Mitesh Shah, MD.

References and Further Reading

American Association of Neurological Surgeons. Patient Information. Sports-related Head Injury. Published/Updated August 2014. Accessed 18 June 2015.

National Institutes of Health/US National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus. Spinal cord trauma. Published/Updated 15 June 2015. Accessed 18 June 2015.

Sahler CS and Greenwald BD. Traumatic brain injury in sports: A review.Rehabilitation and Research Practice. 2012: 10 pp. doi:10.1155/2012/659652.