After a successful Massey TBI Grand Challenge kick-off event in February, the competition came to a close last month with Wolverine Den (MCIRCC’s version of Shark Tank). Seven teams were awarded funding thanks to the generous gift from the Joyce and Don Massey Family Foundation.

Traumatic brain injury is a major cause of death and disability in the United States, contributing to about 30 per cent of all injury deaths. At the same time, current diagnosis, monitoring and treatment strategies for TBI are primitive, largely supportive in nature and are ineffective at reducing the extent of the injury.

Innovation in severe TBI care is urgently needed in order to improve patient outcome and ease the burden on physicians and caregivers. The Massey TBI Grand Challenge aims to bring interdisciplinary teams together to create high-impact, milestone-driven solutions that address the golden hours of care after severe traumatic brain injury.

This year 10 teams were selected to pitch their TBI solution at Wolverine Den, culminating in 7 teams receiving funding. The winning teams scored highly by an independent panel of clinicians, innovation and commercialization experts, national TBI experts, and Department of Defense representatives.

Determined to reward the most innovative proposals, the panel did not go easy on teams during the rousing Q&A sessions and sought out answers to potential gaps or unknowns in their pitches. However, presenters brought their “A-game,” with multimedia presentations, comprehensive subject matter knowledge, and in one case, a demonstration of their prototype.

The goal of the Massey TBI Grand Challenge is to impact TBI patient care and improve outcomes. After listening to the pitches, panelists and attendees walked away from Wolverine Den feeling hopeful for the future of TBI care. After a week of thoughtful deliberation, the “Wolverines” submitted their funding recommendations, which were unanimously approved by the Massey Oversight Committee.

2017 Massey TBI Grand Challenge Winners: