This Fall, Dr. Philip Meyers from our Cerebrovascular Center and Endovascular Center attended one of his favorite charity events: the Joe Niekro Foundation‘s annual Knuckle Ball: a ‘Pitch for Life. Now in its fourth year, the ‘Knuckler’ was held at Hotel Zaza in Houston, Texas. More than 350 guests and supporters showed up to support the Foundation’s mission to raise awareness and funds for aneurysm research and treatment.
Aneurysms occur when a weakened area within a blood vessel wall balloons outward. Most of the time they are asymptomatic and only discovered once they have burst, which can be fatal. When they are located in the brain, they are also prone to blood clot formation. A portion of that clot can then break free and lodge in a brain artery, causing a stroke.
Joe Niekro, a well-known Houston Astros pitcher, suffered a ruptured brain aneurysm in 2006 and passed away at the age of 61. Soon after, his daughter Natalie started the Joe Niekro Foundation to help battle this deadly disease.
Dr. Meyers specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of brain aneurysms and he serves on the Foundation’s Honorary Medical Advisory Committee. Dr. Meyers is also President of the Society of Neurointerventional Surgery (SNIS) which co-sponsored the Ball this year.
The evening was a huge success. “There was lively bidding during the silent auction followed by a delicious dinner and a live auction,” said founder Natalie Niekro. “Guests enjoyed mingling with some of sports greatest legends throughout the evening.” Guests included the following athletes:
- Dave Bergman – MLB 1st Baseman – New York Yankees, Houston Astros, SF Giants and Detroit Tigers (1975-1992)
- Larry Dierker – MLB Pitcher – Houston Colt .45’s/Astros and St. Louis Cardinals (1964-1977), MLB Manager (1997-2001)
- Houston Astros
- Jose Cruz – MLB Outfielder – St. Louis Cardinals (1970-74), Houston Astros (1975-87) and New York Yankees (1988),
- MLB Coach – Houston Astros, Special Assistant to the General Manager for the Houston Astros (2009-present)
- John Egan – NBA Point Guard – Detroit Pistons, New York Knicks, Baltimore Bullets, LA Lakers, Cleveland Cavaliers
- and Houston Rockets (1961-1972), NBA Coach – Houston Rockets (1973-1976)
- Jim Foor – MLB Pitcher – Detroit Tigers, Pittsburgh Pirates (1971-1973)
- Alphonso Roundtree – NFL Defensive Back – Miami Dolphins (2003-2005)
- Scipio Spinks – MLB Pitcher – Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals (1969-1973)
To date, the Knuckle Ball events have raised over $1.5 million for aneurysm research and treatment.
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