Ray Ciancaglini Biography

Ray Ciancaglini, a native of Geneva, New York, is a former professional boxer and award winning concussion awareness activist. His personal life story was featured nationally by ABC News which has been the subject of two New York Associated Press and New York News Publishers Award-winning stories.
 

Ray was instrumental in getting passed into  New York State Law, The  Concussion Management Awareness Act, for which he was honored with the  New York Executive Chamber Award and the Rochester Hickok Hero Award. Ciancaglini founded the Second Impact Concussion Awareness Program (www.thesecondimpact.com)  and tours high schools, colleges universities, NFL Player Development  Camps and Youth Organizations-all free of charge with his message,  lecturing athletes about the possible ramifications of not addressing  concussions properly. The New York State Athletic Trainers' Association has endorsed Ray's Second Impact presentations. 

A  member of the Rochester, NY Boxing Hall of Fame and the Geneva,  NY Sports Hall of Fame, Ciancaglini's boxing career was layered with  many accolades, most notably, the Golden Glove Heart Award and The Jerry Flynn Courage Award. He fought from 1966-74. Other notable awards include the Brain Injury Association of New York State  Public Policy Award, the Geneva High School Class of 1969 Positive  Impact Award and the prestigious Camp Good Days Courage Award.  

Ciancaglini has battled Parkinson's Syndrome and Dementia Pugilistica (Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) for many years as a direct result of numerous untreated concussions he suffered. Ciancaglini has been participating in several CTE Research studies at the Boston University School of Medicine (Study of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy) where he has donated his brain, upon his death.

Ray also speaks at Traumatic Brain Injury Centers and Children's Special  Needs Facilities about the importance of  keeping a positive attitude  and never giving up and gives inspirational lectures to sports teams and  organizations about being a champion in athletics and in life. Ray's greatest reward, however, is knowing that he is resonating and making a difference in the lives of many young athletes.   

Walking In Ray's World

Ray Ciancaglini is a former highly regarded boxer  (middleweight 1966-1974) who suffers from Dementia Pugilistica, also known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, Pugilistic Parkinson's Syndrome, Boxer's Syndrome or Punch-Drunk Syndrome, which is a neurological disorder that affects career boxers and others who receive multiple blows to the head. The condition develops over a period of years, with average onset of 16 years after the start of a career in boxing.  Symptoms manifest as dementia, with a decline in mental ability, Parkinson's-like tremors and lack of coordination. 

These days, Ray struggles to form complete thoughts, and each day is a  battle. He has a hard time writing his own name, and often times,  struggles to recognize life long friends.
 

Early in his boxing career, Ray endured a second impact injury.  This is when an individual absorbs a concussion on top of a previous concussion that has not yet healed.  His durability was his own worst enemy during his boxing career. He had never been knocked out or knocked down which gave him a false sense of infallibility. The cumulative effects of several concussions left his fast hands unreliable and his sharp reflexes dulled.
 

After Ray's retirement from boxing, throughout the early 1980's,  headaches became common place and denial ensued. After a 14 year career at Eastman Kodak, Ray's once impeccable work ethic progressively began  slipping. He was forgetting how to perform regular duties at his job, began developing hand tremors and was constantly dazing out.
 

After much prodding from family, Ray finally met with medical  specialists regarding his mental and physical decline. He was eventually  diagnosed with Dementia Pugilistica, a form of second impact injury that lingered from his boxing days.
 

If left untreated, recurring head trauma can lead to loss of balance, which can  result in unwarranted falls and injuries. These post injury traumas can affect areas of the brain, resulting in lack of comprehension, forgetfulness, repeated sentences during during speech, confusion, insomnia and inappropriate behaviors.  

 The toughest part of Ray's situation is that he now knows that the world  he lives in every day was mostly avoidable.  His mission now is to  educate athletes in order to prevent them from following in his  footsteps and unknowingly finding his world.
 

It is the intention of this site to help spread the word regarding the  destructive nature of second impact injuries and continue in the fight  to prevent adolescent and student athletes from suffering repeat head  trauma in contact sports.
 

No athlete is immune to these head injuries. Wrestling, lacrosse,  boxing, football, soccer, softball and baseball are just a few in a long  list of sports where athletes are very susceptible to head injuries.   With the invincible attitude of athletes today and the peer pressure to  perform at a high level, responsibility now shifts to the shoulders of  coaches and caregivers to recognize the symptoms of these head injuries  in order to help protect the athletes from themselves.
 

Early in his boxing career, Ray endured a second impact injury.  This is when an individual absorbs a concussion on top of a previous concussion that has not yet healed.  His durability was his own worst enemy during his boxing career. He had never been knocked out or knocked down which gave him a false sense of infallibility. The cumulative effects of several concussions left his fast hands unreliable and his sharp reflexes dulled.
 

After Ray's retirement from boxing, throughout the early 1980's,  headaches became common place and denial ensued. After a 14 year career at Eastman Kodak, Ray's once impeccable work ethic progressively began  slipping. He was forgetting how to perform regular duties at his job, began developing hand tremors and was constantly dazing out.
 

After much prodding from family, Ray finally met with medical  specialists regarding his mental and physical decline. He was eventually  diagnosed with Dementia Pugilistica, a form of second impact injury that lingered from his boxing days.
 

If left untreated, recurring head trauma can lead to loss of balance, which can  result in unwarranted falls and injuries. These post injury traumas can affect areas of the brain, resulting in lack of comprehension, forgetfulness, repeated sentences during during speech, confusion, insomnia and inappropriate behaviors.  

In most cases, Ray found family and friends to be supportive.  Beyond that, he found four categories of people:

1.) The Comedians: They like to make jokes and have derogatory nicknames  (slap-happy, punch drunk) for those suffering with the conditions  relating to second-impact injuries.
 

2.) The Skeptics: These are the nay-sayers. They don't accept the  far-reaching effects and place the blame on other factors, suggesting  drug use or alcohol dependency. They ask if the affected individual is  getting proper care, or ask if a few knocks to the head can really leave  that much damage.
 

3.) The Judgementals: They discredit the affected individual, and point  out the people they know who have done better or overcome head injuries.  They point out losses, and overlook successes.
 

4.) The Fair Hearted: They recognize the accomplishments of the affected  individual, respect that individual's life-changing scenario, and  extend support as the life of the affected individual continues not just  to change, but as it simply continues. They understand that even with  this brain injury, the person is still a human being with feelings and  goals in life.
 

While most people will offer a warm handshake and best wishes, it's the  few that don't understand the devastating affects of second impact  injuries that make living with these permanent injuries much more  trying.

This is a progressive disorder; there are good days and bad days, and  days where the medication might work better than others.  There are days  where there may only be a little "buzz" and life goes on as normal, but  slowly, the good days get fewer and farther between.  Half/Half days  feature slower speech, and clumsy coordination which is also welcomed  with paranoia.  The paranoia is due to the fact that you're aware of  your condition, yet you're unable to completely control things.  Bad  days are exactly that, bad days. The affected individual cannot function  normally and may not be aware of their surroundings.
 

Patience and helping the sufferer maintain their level of respect can be  the most important treatment of late stage, second impact injuries and  their lasting effects. 

Contact Information

The Second Impact

SecondImpactMail@yahoo.com

Phone: (315) 719-1031