Thirty-two teams of neurosurgeons from top medical institutions competed June 7th in Central Park at the 11th Annual Neurosurgery Charity Softball Tournament. Endorsed by the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and hosted by Columbia University, the event benefited brain tumor research via the Neurosurgery Research and Education Foundation. This year’s competing Departments of Neurosurgery included Albert Einstein, Columbia, Dartmouth, Duke, Emory, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, LSU, Mayo, Mount Sinai, NYU, Northwestern, Penn, Penn State, GW, Ohio State, Alabama, Tennessee, Utah, Thomas Jefferson, Colorado, Florida, Miami, Barrow, Michigan, Pittsburgh, Puerto Rico, USF, Toronto, Vanderbilt, Cornell/MSK, and Yale University. The playoff field included Miami, LSU, Hopkins, Mayo, Jefferson, Vanderbilt, Emory, Barrow, USF, Penn, Florida, Pittsburgh, Harvard, Columbia, Alabama, and Sinai. The elite eight teams were Miami, Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Barrow, USF, Pittsburgh, Columbia, and Alabama. The final four teams were Miami, Barrow, Pittsburgh, and Columbia. The BNI claimed their 4th championship in 5 years by beating Pittsburgh in the finals.
The Annual Neurosurgery Charity Softball Tournament has rapidly evolved into an international competition, with Toronto and Puerto Rico joining the field in 2010 and 2013, respectively. The first two championships were claimed by Columbia University in 2004 and 2005, while the University of Pennsylvania repeated their title runs in 2006 and 2007. Harvard followed by winning in convincing fashion during the 2008 tournament. Columbia won their third overall championship in 2009 and the Barrow won in 2010 and 2011. The University of Miami then won their first title in 2012. The Barrow has since won two more consecutive championships in 2013 and 2014. The championship trophy, named “The J. Lawrence Pool Memorial Trophy” in honor of the former Columbia chairman, will be housed once again in Phoenix this coming year.
For the eleventh consecutive year, the Steinbrenner family and the New York Yankees have sponsored the tournament. Supported by Mayor Bill de Blasio, this date has been declared “Neurosurgery Charity Softball Tournament Day” in the City of New York. The Annual Neurosurgery Charity Softball Tournament has become a tradition within the neurosurgical community and represents the amiable competition, social camaraderie, and charitable nature within our field. In particular, the dedication of participating programs, particularly traveling teams, has been impressive. Partnership with the American Association of Neurological Surgeons has been instrumental for transitioning from an institutional effort to an international initiative, with this collaboration allowing funding to support NREF neuro-oncology research fellowships. The planning has already begun for the games to continue next year in June 2015 at the 12th Annual Neurosurgery Charity Softball Tournament.