•  Welcome to theThinkFirst of Northern Nevada Website

    Sample image

    Traumatic brain and spinal cord injury is a leading cause of disability and death among children and young adults. Many of these injuries are preventable. That’s where ThinkFirst comes in. ThinkFirst seeks to educate people of all ages, communities, organizations and policy makers about risky behavior and injury, with the aim of changing behavior. At ThinkFirst of Northern Nevada, we teach people to “Use your mind to protect your body.” Explore our website for safety tips, to learn more about injuries and to find ways to help.

Sample image

Support ThinkFirst Nevada

We welcome your support through your time, resources and financial contributions. ThinkFirst of Northern Nevada is a 501(c)(3) non-for profit charity. All donations are tax deductible.


There are no up-coming events


Subscribe to our eNewsletter to receive our News & Events.


ThinkFirst of Northern Nevada welcomes their new Board Members

Dr. Joseph Uccelli
Trauma Surgeon for Western Surgical Group

Cheryl Price
Marketing Manager for Sierra Neurosurgery Group

Allison Cravey
Administrative Assistant & Credentialing Specialist for Sierra Neurosurgery Group

Drew Simpson
Full-time student and VIP Speaker for ThinkFirst of Northern Nevada

For more information on Sierra Neurosurgery Groups Non-Profit organization ThinkFirst of Northern Nevada www.thinkfirstnevada.org.

ThinkFirst Northern Nevada Helmet Giveaway

*child must be present for helmet fitting*

WHEN: Sunday, October 26, 2014
TIME: 7:00 am - Noon
WHERE: Legends Sparks Marina ~ Scheels Parking Lot

This event is in conjunction with "Run for Education"

ThinkFirst of Northern Nevada raising awareness to brain and spinal cord injuries

For more information or to register for the run go to http://www.washoerunforeducation.org/

Drew Simpson Teaches Teens: Use your Mind to Protect your Body!

Introducing ThinkFirst of Northern Nevada
By Besty McDonald

Featured in The Good Life – Old Reno, West Reno and South Reno Magazine

In 2008, Drew Simpson was a star pitcher for Feather River College. After four years as a record-setting ball player for Reno High School, he had been recruited by the Golden Eagles. On a weekend trip home however; that all changed. After a long drive from Feather River to Reno followed by a night of celebrating with friends, Drew fell down three stairs, sustaining a traumatic brain injury. He was rushed to the Emergency Room where Dr. Lali Sekhon, a surgeon with Sierra Neurosurgery Group and the on-call physician that fateful night, examined him.

Drew’s brain was swollen and bleeding, leading Dr. Sekhon to cut out two separate flaps of Drew’s skull on either side of the brain. It was a risky procedure, but one that was necessary to stop the swelling and save his life. Even then, the prognosis wasn’t great and it was unlikely that the young athlete would fully recover. But, against all odds, Drew did recover. He learned to speak again and write. He learned to walk and then to run. Through an abundance of hard work, both on his part and the part of Dr. Sekhon, Drew made it back to the pitcher’s mound.

Drew also helped inspire Dr. Sekhon to sponsor the northern Nevada chapter of the ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation. As part of its mission, ThinkFirst is dedicated to preventing head and spinal cord injuries among children and teens through local educational programs and partnerships. Drew is now an Ambassador for ThinkFirst of Northern Nevada, helping educate youth in our community about the importance of making smart decisions and wearing helmets when playing sports, skateboarding, cycling, skiing and snowboarding. He spends a significant amount of time visiting local schools to help spread the message to “Use your mind to protect your body.” In April 2013, Dr. Sekhon was named Physician Sponsor of the Year for his outstanding commitment and contribution to injury prevention and two more SNG physicians have also joined in the cause, Dr. Chris Demers and Dr. Jay Morgan.

Adding to the community outreach efforts inside northern Nevada and California schools, ThinkFirst of Northern Nevada also gives away hundreds of helmets each year to try and keep kids safe. And because nearly a half-million traumatic brain injuries are treated in hospital emergency rooms annually, the hope is that by educating kids and teens, they will turn into educated adults, spawning generations of helmet-safe citizens across the country. Winter brings a partnership with Sky Tavern junior ski program that provides helmets for young skiers and boarders, while each spring, bike helmet giveaways take place in partnership with organizations such as Kiwanis and Kids on Big Rigs. In addition, SNG physicians speak regularly to area sports organizations ranging from football teams to lacrosse leagues about how to properly select and fit helmets, the importance of helmet certification, concussion diagnosis and treatment, baseline testing and when athletes should return to the field after head injury.

In recognition of his work with ThinkFirst of Northern Nevada, Drew is being recognized this fall as one of Nevada Business Magazine’s “Healthcare Heroes.” And while the now 24-year old would most likely turn back the clock to before his injury if given the chance, his volunteer work with ThinkFirst is a welcome part of his new life. He no longer plays baseball but is working toward a career as a motivational speaker and takes pride in his work helping others.

“Dr. Sekhon gave me a second chance at life and I have every intention of living it to the fullest,” said Drew. “Working with ThinkFirst of Northern Nevada is a huge part of that and I’m honored to be given the chance to help others make smart choices.”

Ninth Annual Healthcare Heroes Honoree Andrew Simpson

Ninth Annual Healthcare Heroes Honoree Andrew Simpson – ThinkFirst of Northern Nevada

Featured in Nevada Business Magazine

Now in its ninth year, Healthcare Heroes began with the dual goal of honoring individuals that excel in healthcare and helping fund scholarships for Nevada’s future healthcare educators. After realizing there wasn’t a program in place to honor individuals that have done amazing things to propel healthcare in the Silver State, Healthcare Heroes was born with 10 categories and a seemingly endless supply of nominees. Taking the idea of contributing to healthcare a step further, the Healthcare Heroes scholarship fund was created. With a scholarship set up at the University of Nevada, Reno and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, the funds are set aside for those students seeking careers as healthcare educators. With nearly 200 Healthcare Heroes honored and tens of thousands of dollars donated to Nevada schools, it’s safe to say that Healthcare Heroes is and continues to be a success. The Healthcare Heroes team extends a huge “thank you!” to everyone that has helped this event succeed, especially our corporate sponsor Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, the associate sponsors and all of the Healthcare Heroes participants and event attendees.

Judging Process: Making the Tough Decisions

Over the years, Healthcare Heroes has had several distinguished members of Nevada’s medical industry serve as judges for the event. This year’s judges have the same unenviable dilemma as judges of previous years: determining the 20 Healthcare Heroes. Judging starts with a nomination form that is sent out at the beginning of the year. This judging form is completed online and is sent to a massive list with the goal of reaching anyone that may want to nominate a hero in healthcare. From there, nominations begin to pour in. Those nominations are compiled by the editorial team at Nevada Business Magazine. Once nominations close, the real work begins. Nominees are divided by location, additional information is gathered and nominee packets are submitted to the judges. Each judge in both Northern Nevada and Southern Nevada has an opportunity to review the nominees and to submit their own before formal meetings are held at both ends of the state. At those meetings the merits of each nominee is discussed as the judges attempt to identify the winners. Any categories that remains undecided after the meetings conclude go through an electronic balloting process. Ballots are sent to each judge and a final vote is held. From this process, the winners are determined and are recognized as the Healthcare Heroes for the year.


Northern Nevada Andrew Simpson VIP Speaker | ThinkFirst of Northern Nevada

Andrew Simpson’s life is a miracle. He defied the odds and turned a near-fatal accident into an opportunity to educate others and change lives. In August 2008, just two weeks into his college baseball career, Andrew suffered a traumatic brain injury that he was not expected to survive. After friends and family said goodbye, Andrew continued to fight for his life even while his medical team projected that if he survived he would remain in a vegetative state. Andrew woke up after over two weeks in a coma. The following months were spent relearning basic skills, such as speech, and undergoing multiple surgeries to replace parts of his skull. Andrew’s second chance not only gave him a newfound appreciation for life, but also a determination to use his experience as a way to give back to the community. With the help of his parents, Andrew set up a scholarship for Reno High School’s baseball team, where he was a record-setting player. He was then approached by the Hug Your Kids organization to share his story at their annual open, where Andrew discovered his love for motivational speaking. In 2011, the chapter director of ThinkFirst of Northern Nevada invited Andrew to join her in speaking at local high schools about the importance of making good choices. As a VIP speaker, Andrew continues to educate youth to think before they act to avoid potential life-changing injuries, all while working and pursuing a college education. Andrew says, “Living my life to help others is like a reminder to me of how badly they fought in that hospital to keep me alive.”

You are here: Home

ThinkFirst Foundation

Leading Injury Prevention Through Education, Research and Policy

Our Social Profiles