As Patrick’s mother, Karen is beyond heartbroken by his loss and for years prior was saddened by his struggle. She hopes this Foundation will help others impacted by CTE, and educate parents on the dangers of activities, which involve head traumas in order to prevent others from suffering the same loss. Karen is a retired public school Food Service Director. Her energy is now being focused on this Foundation. She also enjoys spending time with her grandchildren, children and her husband, Doug.
Amanda is Patrick’s younger sister. She looked up to her handsome, charming, and brilliant older brother her whole life. She has three children and is a Realtor for RE/MAX in Pittsburgh, PA. She formerly was a PR Professional for Edelman Public Relations in New York City, and will dedicate her public relations skills and experience to the Foundation.
Kerrie is Patrick’s Aunt and always had a unique way of sympathizing with Patrick, even though she didn’t completely understand where he was coming from. The fact that he could vent to Kerrie without judgment really calmed him. Kerrie is an accomplished Graphics Designer and Interior Designer and owns and manages Finds Furniture Consignment in Hollidaysburg, PA.
Rich is Patrick’s brother-in-law. He played football with Patrick at Dartmouth College and lived with him in their fraternity house, GDX. Rich is the CEO of Noble Environmental Inc which provides landfills, recycling and environmental services in Western Pennsylvania and Ohio. Rich brings the Foundation his business acumen, his knowledge of football, and his long friendship with Patrick.
Randi is Patrick’s former fiancée and is the mother of his son, Peyton. She is determined to make sure Patrick’s legacy lives on through their son. She is passionate about this Foundation and wants to prevent other families from being pulled apart by CTE, as hers sadly was. In addition to being a wonderful mother, Randi is an elementary school teacher. .
Steve is Patrick’s adopted brother. As they were close in age, he played football with Patrick in high school. Steve is a Foreman at the Allegheny County Airport in Pittsburgh, PA, and Owner of Prestige Landscaping.
Jackie is currently the a News Anchor for Eyewitness News at KTSP in Minneapolis, and lifelong family friend. By chance, through her involvement and reporting of CTE prior to Patrick’s death, Jackie was able to help the family obtain a prompt autopsy on his brain, which revealed CTE. Sadly, today the only reliable diagnostic test for CTE is post-mortem. Jackie is committed to raising awareness.
Doug is Patrick’s stepfather, and with Patrick’s mom feels the intense pain of losing a child. He brings a wealth of business knowledge and experience to the Foundation. He is the President of Art Guild, Inc., a trade show marketing, exhibit and event firm. He is taking time away from his business endeavors to help the Foundation and is a key to its success.
Cyril H. Wecht, M.D., J.D., is a forensic pathologist, attorney and medical-legal consultant.
Dr. Wecht received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and his law degree from the University of Maryland. Dr. Wecht is certified by the American Board of Pathology, in anatomic, clinical, and forensic Pathology, and is also a Fellow of the College of American Pathologists and the American Society of Clinical Pathologists.
Cyril H. Wecht is a Clinical Professor at the University of Pittsburgh Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, and Graduate School of Public Health, and holds positions as an Adjunct Professor at the Duquesne University School of Law, School of Pharmacy, and School of Health Sciences. He has served as President of the American College of Legal Medicine, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Board of Legal Medicine and the American College of Legal Medicine Foundation. The author of more than 550 professional publications, Dr. Wecht is also an editorial board member of more than 20 national and international medical-legal and forensic scientific publications; editor of the five-volume set, Forensic Sciences (Matthew Bender); co-editor of the two and three-volume sets, Handling Soft Tissue Injury Cases and Preparing and Winning, Medical Negligence Cases (both published by Michie).
Formerly the Chairman of the Department of Pathology at Saint Francis Central Hospital in Pittsburgh, Dr. Wecht is now the President of its medical staff and is actively involved as a medical-legal and forensic science consultant, author, and lecturer. Dr. Wecht has organized and conducted Postgraduate Medical-Legal Seminars in more than fifty countries throughout the world in his capacity as Director of the Pittsburgh Institute of Legal Medicine. He has performed approximately 17,000 autopsies and has supervised, reviewed or has been consulted on approximately 30,000 additional postmortem examinations.
Nationally Acclaimed Forensic Expert
Being an expert in Forensic Medicine, Dr. Wecht has frequently appeared on several nationally syndicated programs discussing various medicolegal and forensic scientific issues, including medical malpractice, drug abuse, the assassinations of both President John F. Kennedy and Senator Robert F. Kennedy, the death of Elvis Presley, the O.J. Simpson case, and the JonBenet Ramsey cases. His expertise has also been utilized in high profile cases involving Mary Jo Kopechne, Sunny von Bulow, Jean Harris, Dr. Jeffrey McDonald, the Waco Branch Davidian fire, and Vincent Foster. A comprehensive study of these cases are discussed from the perspective of Dr. Wecht’s own professional involvement in his books, Cause of Death, Grave Secrets, and Who Killed JonBenet Ramsey? (All published by Dutton/Penguin).
I am so excited to be an ambassador of the Patrick Risha CTE Awareness Foundation. In 11th grade I joined my school’s sports medicine program, where I was able to help athletes recover and prevent injuries. One of my job’s was assisting tracking players with concussion recoveries. This task revealed to me how much an athlete could change just from one concussion, and inspired me to learn more about the science behind these concussions. This inspired me to participate in a six month mentorship with Vanderbilt University studying the human brain. As my final project I chose to continue my research on CTE and TBI”s, and show that the brain can be chemically altered even after one minor concussion. As a rising senior, I am continuing to study CTE, currently writing a research paper on TBI and CTE, and the new studies to try to diagnose CTE in living patients. I am thankful I discovered the Patrick Risha CTE awareness foundation, and look forward to helping spread the message to susceptible athletes about CTE and preventing future cases.
Marco is a neuroscience major at Temple University. He is passionate about spreading awareness about the severity of CTE, and is working on campus to spread resources and awareness. He is extremely interested in learning and promoting ways CTE can be prevented, treated and detected. We are hopeful his experiences will help us form impactful programs and messaging on college campuses.
I am excited to be a part of the Patrick Risha CTE Awareness Foundation. When I was in 8th grade on a family vacation to a ranch, I was thrown off of a horse. I lost consciousness immediately and did not come back to awareness until I was in the Tucson emergency room hours later. At that point, much was still not known about concussions, and I was told to rest for a few hours and then go back to my normal routine. It was not until returning home to Doylestown and meeting with my pediatrician that I realized how serious my concussion (and really anyone’s) was. As I recovered, I suffered from horrendous headaches, nausea, and exhaustion. It was at that point in my life that I took up an interest in the brain, though I had no idea of the way it would influence my life.
When it came time for me to pick a major that I wanted to study in college, I decided to choose neuroscience. Upon getting to college and beginning my classes at The Ohio State University, I had no idea that I could love something so much. I soaked up every once of information from my teachers and became even more fascinated with the brain and central nervous system than I could have possibly imagined. Throughout my time in school, I got as involved as possible to develop a deeper understanding of the brain, even working in a visual cognition lab.
I loved connecting what I was learning in my classes to what was going on in the outside world. Consequently, I was especially interested when the movie “Concussion” came out in 2015. After watching the movie, I did a deep dive into the topic of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). After suffering through my own concussions and noticing the impact they had on my physical health, as well as my mental health, I could only imagine the pain that CTE caused its victims as well as their families. I continued to learn about the topic and search for ways to get involved in helping to prevent future cases.
Thankfully, I found the Patrick Risha CTE Awareness Foundation, which just happened to be located in my area. I immediately reached out and was graciously accepted into the organization by Karen and Doug. As I continue furthering my education, I am working with the organization to raise awareness about CTE and hopefully work to prevent future cases. As an advocate for mental health awareness and overall health, I believe learning about and respecting the brain is a critical component. I am thrilled to work with communities near and far to emphasize the amazing power of the brain, and why we all need to protect what we have.