Professional football fans have a rare opportunity to visit the headquarters of the National Football League (NFL) in New York City while backing the Korey Stringer Institute’s work at the same time.

Those donors who attend the KSI Gala on May 11 will receive an NFL tour. It starts at a reception desk shaped like a football and provides a look at the Super Bowl championship rings, team memorabilia and the AFC, NFC and Lombardi trophies. In addition, attendees will see the operations room for the NFL referees and the Super Bowl conference room.

  • This football-shaped reception desk greets KSI Gala attendees at NFL headquarters. Photo: Christine Petit, Le Petit Studio

“We value promoting KSI in an amazing venue and an amazing city,” said Douglas Casa, chief executive officer of KSI and a professor in the Department of Kinesiology. Proceeds of the gala will benefit KSI. The Institute’s mission is to provide research, education, advocacy and consultation to maximize performance, optimize safety and prevent sudden death for the athlete, soldier and laborer, according to the KSI website.

Besides the tour, this sixth annual fundraiser for 100 guests includes a cocktail reception, awards ceremony and a silent auction. The gala usually sells out.

2017 KSI Lifesaving Awards

The awards portion of the evening will recognize the 2017 KSI Lifesaving Award Winners. One of the organizers of the gala and chief operating officer of KSI, Rebecca Stearns, says that the awardees have made profound impacts within research, education and service on the health and safety of athletes, soldiers and laborers.

This year’s winners include a researcher, an educator and an advocate, who demonstrate outstanding work in areas that fulfill KSI’s mission, according to Casa.

KSI chose Dawn Comstock, PhD, who is a sports injury researcher at the University of Colorado, for the KSI Lifesaving Research Award. National Collegiate Athletic Association Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline, MD, will receive the KSI Lifesaving Education Award. The KSI Lifesaving Service Award will go to Jim Thornton, past president of National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA). Each awardee will receive a plaque at the gala.

KSI backstory

The association of NFL with KSI goes beyond hosting a yearly gala. Professional football was a partner of the institute since its beginning. KSI got its name from Korey Stringer, an NFL offensive lineman who succumbed to exertional heat stroke (EHS) in 2001. His widow, Kelci, envisioned an EHS prevention institute as a tribute to Korey and got assistance from the NFL, her husband’s agent and Casa to start the non-profit institute. KSI came to fruition in 2010. UConn’s Department of Kinesiology, which studies health and safety issues for athletes and the physically active, serves as KSI’s hosting home.

Currently, KSI serves the needs of active individuals and athletes at all levels and assists people who supervise and care for them.

In additional to support from the NFL and private donors, KSI partners with Gatorade, NATA, Camelbak, Kestrel and Mission to further advance its efforts and goals.


KSI staff members pose with Kelci Stringer (second row, third from the left) at NFL headquarters. Photo: Christine Petit, Le Petit Studio

More information

Attendees need tickets for the KSI Gala on Thursday, May 11, 2017. The event runs from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the NFL headquarters, 345 Park Avenue, New York, New York.

Tickets are $250 for individuals and $400 for couples. $100 of each type of ticket is tax deductible with proceeds directed to the UConn Foundation to benefit the Korey Stringer Institute. Select “Register Now” at the bottom of the UConn Foundation webpage to buy tickets. Guests must RSVP by May 11, 2017. Attendance is limited to 100 guests, and tickets sell out quickly.

Silent auction items will include collectibles, such as a Marcus Mariota autographed NFL authentic game ball, an Antonio Brown autographed Steelers football helmet, an Aaron Rodgers autographed Green Bay Packers helmet and a Clay Matthews autographed Green Bay Packers helmet.

Casa said that holding the gala in NFL HQ is an honor. “This gives us an incredible setting in an incredible city to promote the incredible efforts of the more than 80 people who work at KSI.” Read more about KSI and its mission on the KSI website.

By Patsy Evans