The UNTOLD Foundation is a leader in elevating the understanding of concussion symptoms after traumatic brain injury (TBI) and its impact on mental health.
We do this by promoting awareness through concussion education, advancing the use of standardized protocols, and providing resources for victims and their families.
The UNTOLD Foundation will positively impact research in the fields of TBI, Anxiety, Depression, and Suicide through our Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).
The UNTOLD Foundation was founded by the Thomas family in the weeks following the tragic loss of their son Willy Alexander “Zander” Thomas, who unexpectedly decided to take his own life on October 27th, 2013 at the age of 17.
Zander always devoted himself to being an exceptional athlete, first playing soccer and later ice hockey, the sport he really came to love. Zander was a popular and talented teammate and participated in increasingly competitive and intense levels of play. What wasn’t apparent at the time, however, was the growing cost to Zander of receiving multiple sub-concussive blows to his still developing brain as these individually were not severe enough to sideline him for practices or games. Even the fact that he frequently needed over-the-counter headache relief medications failed to trigger an awareness of what was happening to Zander internally.
During the final year of his life on earth, Zander was treated for depression, although again this was not linked to his involvement in sports. If anything, his family believed that his involvement in team sports was one of the positive aspects of his life, in addition to having a loving family and long-term relationship with his girlfriend. By high school, Zander had advanced into the highest levels of competitive travel ice hockey as a member of the national Tier I Elite Hockey League and it was while participating there that he received his first diagnosed concussion. He was sidelined for three weeks, but like many competitive athletes begged the entire time to return to the game. When he did receive the go-ahead from his doctors, he traveled to a college showcase at the University of New Hampshire for a three-game stint, playing wonderfully. His father drove him home where he rested that evening from the trip. The following day, Zander did the illogical, unexpected, and at the time completely inexplicable action of taking his own promising young life.
In the time that followed, the Thomas family searched for answers to this heartbreaking event. They began learning and connecting to others who had experienced similar tragedies, which then led them to some of the leading neurological researchers in the world. They began to realize how successive sub-concussive blows and concussions can cause damage to the frontal lobe which, while often hard to diagnose or even detect, results in improper brain functioning, including depression and mental instability, which causes abnormal non-willful decision-making and potentially impulsive, aggressive, or self-destructive actions.
The UNTOLD Foundation is dedicated to educating young athletes and their families, coaches, and communities about the effects of traumatic brain injuries and the mental health issues that can result from either a single concussion or multiple sub-concussive events.
Just over 8 years ago, Graham Thomas tragically lost his 17-year-old son Zander, an avid athlete and hockey player who was on the recovery trail from a concussion.
Graham discusses how his life has been impacted by the tragic loss of his son with one diagnosed concussion, and how he is working with the Concussion Legacy Foundation (CLF) to make a difference in educating communities. #MyLegacy
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