HeadStrong: OHL Player Starts Hockey Brain Injury Foundation

Hockey Lifestyle™ — By on May 16, 2012 9:27 AM

Ben Fanelli, a defenseman for the Kitchener Rangers (OHL) was a victim of a very serious brain injury in October 2009. Since then Ben has recovered fully and is back playing hockey once again thanks to the resources and professionals that helped throughout his road to recovery as well as support from his family and friends. Ben has not forgotten the individuals that have helped along the road to his recovery and decided he wanted to give back by creating the foundation, “HeadStrong”. This is a foundation that provides awareness about brain injuries and raises funds for various brain injury associations. I was lucky enough to contact Fanelli, who is a very positive, polite and humorous individual, to find out more about the foundation and what it has to offer. The questions and answers are as followed.

1. Q. What made you want to start it in the first place?

I was blessed with not only my recovery but also, the resources and professionals that took care of me and helped make my recovery and my return to hockey possible. I wanted to do whatever I could to help give other people that as well and wanted to sustain head injuries and give people the ability to recover 100% as I did. I also look up to Lance Armstrong and idolize him for his comeback and success. I thought that Armstrong’s foundation “LiveStrong” was also a clever name, so I decided to incorporate that with “HeadStrong”.

Ben Fanelli creater of HeadStrong


2. Q. What is the main logic behind the foundation?

The main logic behind “HeadStrong” is spreading knowledge and seriousness about Head Injuries not only in hockey but also, in all walks of life. Secondly another big part of HeadStrong is raising money for the Brain Injury Association of Canada.

3. Q. Where can people donate/is there a website for it?

People can donate through the BIAC website, the HeadStrong Facebook Page or the HeadStrong twitter page, @BF4HeadStrong which always has updates as to what’s

going on and what’s new with HeadStrong.

4. Q. What are past events your program have been involved with?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper shows his support of Head Strong PMO photo by Jason Ransom

HeadStrong’s kick off event was a triathlon I decided to take part in. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be, but it was a great experience. A HomeTown Hockey camp run by Jamie Israel for skill development and body contact in hockey and HeadStrong shirts were given to each player who participated. HeadStrong T-Shirts were created and sold out of the Kitchener Auditorium. There were many events that supporters of HeadStrong have created themselves as well. In fact, an 11 year old from Kitchener asked for donations to HeadStrong instead of birthday presents at his birthday party, just incredible. A Kitchener high school student ran a HeadStrong hockey tournament as well.

5. Q. Future events HeadStrong will be involved with.

There will be a new HeadStrong product for sale at the Kitchener Auditorium, taking the place of the T-Shirts. Next Summer I will take part in another “event” that will test my abilities. I am not sure exactly what it will be yet, but it will hopefully get the word out about HeadStrong even more.

This summer the 1st Ontario Hockey Media Golf Tournament will be held at the Oakridge Golf Club on June 12th. All of the proceeds of this tournament will be going to the HeadStrong Foundation for Brain Injury Awareness and The Brain Injury Association of Canada. The tournament will be taking place in Port Perry Ontario. I hope to see you there and am hoping supporters of HeadStrong will continue to take initiative to spread the word through school events, school projects etc.


Give Ben and his foundation a follow on twitter at @BF4HeadStrong and “like” the Facebook page as well. Support HeadStrong today! 

Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche with his father and brother rocking HeadStrong in Sweden!


Jeff Skinner of the Carolina Hurricanes supporting HeadStrong!


  1. Joey Z says:

    Sounds like an awesome cause/idea and great to see Ben recovered. Thank you for sharing!

  2. Keither says:

    I’d never heard of this foundation. Very good cause. Thanks for posting this.

  3. Rosey says:

    great foundation, ive suffered concussions alot and see’ing something like this is awesome

  4. a.j.frey says:

    Um, the Headstrong Foundation already exists. http://headstrongfoundation.org/ Not that I think it’s a bad idea, but a 5 second Google search would have come up with that…

  5. nickster96 says:


  6. slapshot1015 says:

    great cause

  7. Bonesy says:

    That’s Awesome…thanks for the share

  8. Eddie says:

    Sounds awesome, really hopes this takes off

  9. lanker96 says:

    I’m still shocked that hes still playing, I thought his career was over when I saw the hit

  10. samuellawrence says:

    Great story. looks like a great foundation

  11. cchockey4 says:

    Sounds like a great foundation! Great to see players making a difference

  12. Tendy31 says:

    Sounds great. Being an Athletic Training student, always good to hear about people raising injury awareness

  13. CaptainKlutch says:

    thats great i think this will help hockey players with concussions and achieve lots of goals!

  14. dougs says:

    nice read carrie

  15. kennywuxu says:

    great cause

  16. Gabe says:

    good story. i hate concussions

  17. Killakew says:

    Great story glad someone started something for it.

  18. Cousinsimon says:

    Very cool and I will be on the lookout for any local events that may support the cause!

  19. Kirb says:

    glad Ben is back and playing, seems like a great cause

  20. thehockeymaster says:

    that is just great. Shows how much these hockey beautys have class!

  21. ben14 says:

    I;m glad to see that he is back playing hockey

  22. Beauty54 says:

    seems like a great cause

  23. i might go watch the golf tourny

  24. fox says:

    I’m with Lanker … I remember seeing this hit and criging. Glad to see he’s been able to overcome his injury! Great work on the blog, Carrie! Keep up the good work!

  25. Gonger17 says:

    verry good cause

  26. Capn Kev says:

    excellent, really happy for fanelli and mad props to him for doing something like this

  27. hasser4 says:

    great idea, clearly things need to change

  28. gino_hard13 says:

    whata beauty great idea!

  29. michaelbrill says:

    what a great idea, best of luck to him. anything at all that can be done to help out with the scary world of head injuries is helpful

  30. schmodey says:

    That was a scary hit nice to see he’s taking his experience and helping others great to see

  31. Jam10 says:

    great cause, glad to see he can still play hockey

  32. beautygonger97 says:


  33. Sniper8 says:

    true beauty

  34. Burgos says:

    classy fella.

  35. Sheriff says:

    great story, great cause!

  36. shortsxit says:

    Is there any updated info on this foundation?

  37. ATM1515 says:

    good cause

  38. vinny1997 says:

    head strong

  39. pop the cherry says:


  40. Mr. Dangles says:

    Good job boys!

  41. dominic88 says:


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