Who is BCI?
The Benson Concussion Institute was founded by Dr. Brian Benson. Dr. Benson is a sport medicine physician and clinician-scientist who is passionate about understanding the human brain, its function, and how it is affected after a traumatic brain injury sustained during sport.
It is Dr. Benson's firm belief that "If you are not doing innovation then you are merely following and accepting the current standard of care." There is a dire need for integrated, solution-driven, research oriented approaches to continuously improve the standard of concussion care in today’s highly competitive sport environment. Our group has been motivated to develop objective, reliable functional measures of neurological impairment following concussion, with the goal of informing clinical decision-making and individualized management.
Our innovative approach to sport concussion assessment and management fosters a paradigm of precision medicine by tailoring medical decisions and management strategies to the unique characteristics of each athlete. It facilitates individualized, targeted post-concussion therapeutic interventions applied to those who will benefit, sparing expense, time, unnecessary investigations and rehabilitation strategies for those who will not.
An athlete's brain is their command center for athletic performance, and is going to be needed far beyond their sporting career.
More than any other injury, a concussion needs to be treated with the utmost respect from the outset of injury through recovery.
The BCI Team
Dr. Brian W. Benson
Founder, Chief Medical Officer, Sport Medicine Physician,
BPE (HONS), MD, MSC, PHD, CCFP (SEM),
DIP. SPORT MED.
Dr. Benson is a sport medicine physician and clinician scientist with extensive experience in sport-related concussion research, clinical assessment and management. He is Chief Medical Officer and Director of Sport Medicine at the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary, has a clinical consulting practice in sport medicine at Group 23 Sports Medicine Clinic and holds Adjunct Research and Clinical Assistant Professorships in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences and Family Medicine at the University of Calgary.
Dr. Benson completed a Master of Science and Doctorate Degree in Epidemiology from the Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Calgary, with a focus on sport concussion prevention. He has served and/or continues to serve as a member of several National and North American concussion and health safety executive committees, including the Canadian Hockey League's Concussion Management Program, Own the Podium's High Performance Practitioner Pathway Council, Own the Podium's Sport Medicine Advisory Council, Hotchkiss Brain Institute Traumatic Brain Injury NeuroTeam, Mayo Clinic Ice Hockey Concussion Summit, Canadian National Sport Science, Medicine Advisory Committee, NHL – NHLPA Concussion Working Group (ex-officio), ThinkFirst Canada, and the Canadian Academy of Sport and Exercise Medicine Sport Safety Committee.
Dr. Benson has extensive clinical experience in high performance sport, including Head Team Physician roles with the University of Calgary Dinosaur Football team, Alpine Canada, Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, Luge Canada, Wrestling Canada, Calgary Canucks Junior A Hockey Club and several National Men’s Ice Hockey Teams representing Canada at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup, Under-18 World Championships, World Junior Championships, Canada vs Russia Super Series, Deutschland Cup, Spengler Cup, and Men’s World Championships. Dr. Benson has also had Sport Medicine Consulting roles with the Calgary Flames NHL Hockey Club, University of Calgary Dinosaur Hockey and Wrestling teams, Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, Skate Canada, and is currently on the NHL/NHLPA Second Medical Opinion Physician List.
Dr. Sean Dukelow
MD, PhD, FRCPC
Sean is an Associate Professor, physiatrist and neuroscientist at the University of Calgary with a primary interest in assessment of sensorimotor recovery in stroke using robotic assessments. He has extensive background and knowledge in robotics, neurological sensorimotor impairment, neurological recovery and vision.
Dr. Cameron Mang
Cameron is a neuroscientist at the University of Regina and exercise physiologist. He brings expertise in the neural control of movement and interactions between aerobic exercise and the central nervous system. He is proficient in the development, programming and analysis of robotic tasks for neurologic assessment.
Dr. Tara Whitten
Tara is a neuroscientist and two-time Olympian and Olympic bronze medalist in the sport of cycling, providing a unique understanding of elite performance and the goals and challenges of returning concussed athletes to performance. She brings expertise in signal processing and programming skills that are critical for the development, optimization and analysis of tasks for concussion assessment on the KINARM robotic technology.
Program Coordinator, Clinical & Research Assistant (On Maternity Leave)
BKin, CAT (C)
Madeline is a Certified Athletic Therapist and Medical Coordinator at the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary. She has extensive experience in acute sport concussion clinical assessment and management, multi-disciplinary research and clinical coordination, research methodology and analysis, research data collection, database management, and is experienced and proficient with the KINARM robotic assessment technology.
Dr. David Smith
David is an exercise physiologist and professor emeritus who brings over 35 years of experience in the testing and monitoring of physiological changes that occur in high performance athletes combined with the design of training programs. He has worked with some of Canada’s top coaches in sports including speed skating, swimming, volleyball, ice-hockey, track and field, cross-country skiing and track cycling. He has extensive experience with sport-related concussion exercise stress testing, heart-rate variability, and exercise prescription protocols. Dr. Smith is currently Director of Sport Science at the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary.
Clinical & Research Assistant
BA, Dip SIM, CAT(C)
Kerri is a Certified Athletic Therapist and Head Athletic Therapist at Mount Royal University. She has extensive experience in acute sport concussion clinical assessment and treatment, research data collection and database management, and is proficient with the KINARM robotic assessment technology. Kerri has extensive sideline and clinical experience working with university level football, basketball, hockey, volleyball, soccer, field hockey and rugby teams. Kerri was a member of the Waterpolo Canada Senior Men's Integrated Service Team from 2011-2017 that included international travel to various training camps and competitions around the world. She is a strong believer in continuing education and has extensive manual therapy training including Muscle Energy Techniques, Strain-Counterstrain, Visceral Manipulation, Craniosacral Therapy and Somato Emotional Release.
Clinical / Research Technician
Jake is an undergraduate student in the Haskayne School of Business at the University of Calgary. He is trained and experienced with sport concussion clinical assessment tools, and is proficient with the KINARM robotic assessment technology.
Program Coordinator, Clinical & Research Assistant (BSc Kin)
Nathan is a recent graduate from the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary. He is trained and experienced with sport concussion clinical assessment tools, and is proficient with the KINARM robotic assessment technology. He has spent the last 3 years as a clinical research assistant with BCI, and has transitioned into the coordinator position whle Madeline Cosh is on maternity leave.
Clinical / Research Technician
Brett is currently a Junior hockey player with aspirations to earn a NCAA collegiate academic-athletic scholarship. He is trained and proficient with sport concussion clinical assessment tools and the KINARM robotic technology.
Exercise Physiology Concussion Technician
Jalena is an exercise physiologist with the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary. Her roles and experience include sport-related concussion exercise stress testing, heart-rate-variability, exercise prescription protocols, coordination, and research data collection.
Dr. Debbie Luk
BSc(Hons), OD, FCOVD
Debbie is one of the few residency-trained and board-certified Developmental/Neuro-Optometrists in Canada to provide Vision Therapy. As part of her specialty training, Dr. Luk works with many high-performance athletes to provide Baseline Concussion Assessment, Sports Vision Training, and post-concussion vision assessment and rehabilitation.
MSc, CSSD, RD, ISAK Level 1 Anthropometrist
Kelly is a Sport Dietitian with the Canadian Sport Institute Calgary specializing in nutrition prescription for athletes from recreational to national levels throughout phases of training and competition. She is recognized as a national leader within her respective field.
Dr. Natasha Kutlesa
Natasha is a Registered Psychologist working collaboratively with athletes, teams, and coaches, including the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Her expertise is in post-concussion management, recovery from sports injuries, eating disorders, and other personal or mental health concerns that can interfere with athletic performance. Although she has expertise in working with athletes who are experiencing health or injury related challenges, she also helps athletes with other areas of sport psychology such as performance enhancement (e.g., visualization, self-talk, relaxation techniques, team dynamics, healthy body image, etc.), coping with the pressure of competitions (e.g., from parents, coaches, or athlete’s own expectations), or planning ahead for career after sport.
Michael is an experienced clinical neuropsychologist who is able to determine a differential diagnosis of brain injury relative to other psychological/psychiatric conditions. Dr. Maclean's experience is applied to treatment recommendations and prognosis. His experience also includes sports-related brain injury. He received his Master's degree from the University of British Columbia in clinical psychology and his Doctoral degree from the University of British Columbia. Michael is a consulting neuropsychologist in the Concussion Tracking Program with the National Hockey League (NHL).
Dr. Nathan Finkbeiner
Nathan completed his undergraduate degree with specialization in pharmacology at the University of Alberta in 2007, before moving to Calgary to complete medical school by 2011. Thereafter, he completed a psychiatry residency ending in 2016. In addition to being a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada, Dr. Finkbeiner is also a member of the World Psychiatric Association Section on Exercise, Psychiatry and Sport, and the International Society of Sports Psychiatry. Since 2015, Dr. Finkbeiner has been involved as a consultant for a number of sports medicine physicians and clubs, including work with the Calgary Stampeders, University of Calgary, and Olympic athletes. You will otherwise find him at the Peter Lougheed Centre where he works on the inpatient unit for acute psychiatric stabilization, and in the Day Hospital Program for outpatient management. Growing up playing a variety of sports, including lacrosse, hockey, and rugby, Dr. Finkbeiner developed an interest in the unique mental health demands for athletes, as well as the growing awareness of concussions. During his training, Dr. Finkbeiner published a review in the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry on the psychiatric outcomes following adult concussion in sport, and he is excited at the opportunity to further this understanding as well as provide mental health treatment and support to those athletes in need.
Dr. Pamela Weatherbee
BSc (Hon), MD, FRCPC
Pamela is a native Calgarian, and a newly graduated psychiatrist with a special interest in the emerging area of sport psychiatry. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree with honors, Medical Doctorate and FRCPC in psychiatry with the University of Calgary. Dr. Weatherbee currently works at the Rockyview General Hospital in Calgary, running a Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Informed Skills Group and consulting via the Urgent Psychiatric Consult Clinic for family physicians. She will also be involved in the Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) inpatient unit at the Rockyview General Hospital in 2018. Dr. Weatherbee worked with the former Matrix Clinic as a resident completing general psychiatric assessments. Her interest in sport psychiatry stems for recognition of the integral relationship between mental and physical health in optimizing performance and overall well-being in athletes of all ages. Dr. Weatherbee played collegiate basketball with the University of Calgary between 2003-2006 as a point guard and shooting guard. After collegiate basketball, she went on to work for the University of Calgary Students’ Union in a variety of capacities, including as the Vice President Academic and as an elected representative on the Board of Governors.
M.Sc, R.Aud (C)
Megan obtained her Master's Degree in Audiology and Speech Sciences in 2011 from the University of British Columbia. Prior to that, she obtained a Bachelor's of Science in Psychology from the University of Calgary, graduating with distinction. Since 2011, Megan has worked in private practice diagnosing hearing and balance disorders in children and adults. Her practise also includes providing hearing loss intervention. Megan has interest and knowledge in the full scope of audiology, including both auditory and vestibular systems, and prides herself in the use of current best-practise guidelines and most up-to-date technology. She is always looking for research supporting new intervention or assessment methods to provide the best quality of care to her patients.
Dr. Whitney Reaman
Au.D, M.Sc, R.Aud (C)
Whitney has been an Audiologist since 2011, working primarily in private practice settings to diagnose and treat hearing and balance disorders in children and adults. Whitney obtained a Master of Science degree in Audiology and Speech Sciences through the University of British Columbia in 2011 before pursuing her Doctor of Audiology degree through A.T. Still University, which she completed in August 2017. By virtue of her graduate studies and clinical experience, she has a diverse and thorough knowledge of the various aspects of Audiology, including diagnosis and management of auditory and vestibular disorders for individuals of all ages, and she strives to provide the highest standard of care using current evidence-based practices and technology. Whitney believes that hearing health is an important part of an individual's overall well-being, and having the opportunity to improve the quality of life of her patients by improving their ability to connect with others makes audiology an extremely rewarding profession.
Prior to pursuing a career in audiology, Whitney obtained a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology with Distinction degree through the University of Alberta. It was during her studies here that Whitney developed a keen interest in studying human anatomy, exercise physiology and other sports sciences. Whitney finds working with BCI to be very exciting as it provides an opportunity to combine her undergraduate interests in kinesiology with her career in audiology in a unique and interesting way in order to improve the treatment outcomes for athletes.
Hannah obtained her Master’s Degree in Audiology and Speech Sciences in 2008 from the University of British Columbia, and has been working as an audiologist ever since. Prior to that, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Psychology and Speech Sciences from the University of British Columbia in 2006. During her work with the Benson Concussion Institute, Hannah has added to her vast knowledge of the auditory and vestibular systems, specifically with the interaction between these systems and concussions. Hannah believes that a precise and accurate assessment of the auditory and vestibular system is of utmost importance in the assessment and treatment of complex brain injuries.
The Executive Team
Director, BCI Foundation
Tom earned a BA in Political Science/Public Policy from The University of Calgary, and has been a long-time Alumni Board Member, University Senator and volunteer to the Alberta CPHR community. With a professional designation in Human Resources, Tom brings 20-years of experience in Human Capital management consulting as a leading advisor to the Canadian corporate and talent development landscape. Tom has led teams of professionals impacting hundreds of companies, and worked with many of the globe’s iconic thought leaders in organizational behaviour, development and design. Tom will help BCI attract, retain and engage professional talent, drive culture that produces a world-class patient experience, and assist with fundraising efforts to support applied, solution-based clinical research that will significantly benefit the sporting community at large.
Natasha has worked with BCI since its inception. Working behind the scenes, Natasha is instrumental in shaping our corporate strategy and maintaining our operational focus. Natasha has a passion for process, efficiency and effective teamwork. Natasha believes in the power of the customer experience and that a true multi-disciplinary and holistic approach to sport medicine is what makes BCI world leading. Natasha holds a BA in English from St. Mary’s University, Twickenham, certificates in Human Resources and Business Analysis from Mount Royal. Natasha has over 18+ years in Business Administration and Operational Management in tourism, sport and healthcare industries
Mr. Reeves is a partner at the law firm of Tingle Merrett LLP. He has acted as corporate and securities counsel to numerous Canadian and International public and private corporations, including a large number of companies active in the medical industry. He has wide experience in private and public debt and equity offerings, corporate acquisitions of assets and/or shares, corporate structuring and debt financing and has extensive experience assisting issuers intending to list and operate on Canadian stock exchanges. Mr. Reeves has taught nationally in the areas of exempt markets and e-Commerce financing and is currently a director and/or officer of the several Canadian and U.S. public and private companies. Mr. Reeves has been with Tingle Merrett LLP since 2003 prior to which he was with the Calgary office of a major national law firm. Mr. Reeves has a Bachelor of Commerce degree (hons.-1990) and a Bachelor of Laws (hons.-1995) degree from the University of Alberta and is a current executive member of the Advisory Board of the TSX Venture Exchange.
Understanding High Performance Sports
Our multi-disciplinary team is leaders in their respective fields (e.g., sport medicine physicians, athletic therapy, physiotherapy, vestibular therapy, exercise physiology, neuro-optometry, sport nutrition, sport psychology, neuropsychology, sport psychiatry, sport audiology, clinical research).
We understand athletes, coaches, parents and the demands of high performance sport.