Columbia University Medical Center

Annual Neurosurgery Softball Tournament Raises Funds For Pediatric Brain Tumor Research

Tournament Sponsored by George M. Steinbrenner III & the New York Yankees;
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg Declared
“Neurosurgery Charity Softball Tournament Day”
in the City of New York, in Honor of the Event

NEW YORK (June 29, 2009)—A team of Columbia University Medical Center neurosurgeons came away with the top prize after a daylong softball tournament where brain surgeons from 19 of the nations’ top medical institutions and one all-star celebrity team battled it out in New York City’s Central Park on Saturday, June 6 to raise funds for pediatric brain tumor research at Columbia University Medical Center.

Ricardo J. Komotar, M.D., a neurosurgery resident at the Columbia University Medical Center, established the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Fund and Tournament in 2004 to raise awareness about childhood brain cancers and to increase funding for research.

Actor Danny Masterson at the plate during the Pediatric Brain Tumor
Research Fund of Columbia University Medical Center’s
6th Annual Charity Softball Tournament

Photo credit: Charles Manley
According to the National Cancer Institute and American Cancer Society, pediatric brain tumors are among the leading causes of cancer death in children. More than 3,000 new cases of childhood primary brain tumors are expected to be diagnosed this year – more than 75 percent will be in children younger than 15 years old. The five-year survival rate of a primary malignant brain tumor patient is only 32 percent.

“The Annual Neurosurgery Charity Softball Tournament was started in an effort to raise awareness of pediatric brain tumors and work towards discovering a cure for this devastating condition,” says Dr. Komotar. “Medical research and treatment advancements will ultimately help alleviate the profound disruption that brain tumors can cause in the lives of young patients and their families.”

For the sixth consecutive year, Columbia University Medical Center hosted the event, and George M. Steinbrenner III and the New York Yankees sponsored the tournament. In honor of the event, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg declared the day “Neurosurgery Charity Softball Tournament Day” in the City of New York. ESPN anchor Jeremy Schaap threw honorary first pitches to Dan Palumbo, a young brain tumor survivor treated at Columbia. In total the event raised approximately $200,000.

The 19 institutions that participated in the event included: Columbia University Medical Center (host); Cornell University; New York University; Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Harvard University; Yale University; The Johns Hopkins University; Albert Einstein College of Medicine; Emory University; Duke University; University of Pennsylvania; University of Utah; Dartmouth College; Thomas Jefferson; Northwestern University; University of Alabama; Barrow Neurological Institute; Penn State University and the University of Florida.

A special all-star celebrity team, led by captains Julian Casablancas (lead singer of The Strokes) and actor Danny Masterson, battled the neurosurgeons. The celebrity team was sponsored by BrainLAB, a medical device manufacturer of neurosurgical equipment.

The winning Columbia team was presented with the championship trophy, “The J. Lawrence Pool Memorial Trophy,” named in honor of the former Columbia University neurosurgery chairman (P&S ’32, ’40MSD) and a pioneer in the field. Team members included: Drs. Fred Ogden, Guy McKhann, Sean Lavine, Paul McCormick, Zach Hickman, Robert Goodman, Chris Kellner, Omar Syed, Andrew Ducruet, Mike Kaiser, Brad Zacharia, Morgan Stuart, Jeffrey Bruce, Sander Connolly, Tony D’Ambrosio, Chris Mandigo, Todd Hankinson and Ricardo Komotar.

To learn more about the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Fund of Columbia University Medical Center and the 6th Annual Charity Softball tournament, please visit

To donate to the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Fund at Columbia University Medical Center visit or contact Dr. Ricardo J. Komotar at and (212) 305-7056.

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Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia’s College of Physicians and Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree and is now among the most selective medical schools in the country. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the most comprehensive medical research enterprise in New York City and state and one of the largest in the United States. Columbia University Medical Center is affiliated with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, the nation’s largest not-for-profit hospital provider. For more information, please visit