St. Sebastian Council # 14255 and the Monsignor O’Keefe Assembly hosted a Rose Mass at St. Sebastian Church, Akron, Ohio on the evening of March 22, 2013. The Rose Mass, which honors and offers prayers for persons who work in any capacity in the field of health care, was presided over by the Most Reverend George V. Murry, Bishop of the Diocese of Youngstown. He was assisted by Father John Valencheck and Father Matthew Pfeiffer of St. Sebastian Parish, as well as two deacons. Approximately 130 persons were in attendance, including the St. Sebastian Parish Choir and a Fourth Degree turn-out by the Monsignor O’Keefe Assembly.
At the conclusion of Mass, the Knights presented the Dr. Carl E. Krill Award, which is named for a St. Sebastian Parish physician who practiced medicine in Akron for over 60 years, who discovered the link between childhood tonsillectomies and poliomyelitis in the pre-polio vaccine era and who passed away in 2005 at the age of 101. The 2013 honoree was Dr. Joseph A. Congeni, M.D., who is the Medical Director of the Sports Medicine Center at Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron.
Dr. Congeni has numerous professional and volunteer accomplishments in the field of protecting and assisting youth who engage in athletic endeavors. For over 20 years, Dr. Congeni has been a leader in developing neurocognitive tests which are useful in diagnosing concussions suffered by athletes and in determining when concussion symptoms have dissipated, allowing the athletes to return to play. He was one of 12 physicians nationwide who signed an American Academy of Pediatrics Policy statement designed to heighten early awareness of concussion symptoms and their treatment. For 15 years, Dr. Congeni was part of a Joint Advisory Committee of the Ohio High School Athletic Association, which issued strong concussion guidelines in 2010. Most recently, Dr. Congeni testified in support of Ohio House Bill 143, which extends concussion recognition and return-to-play procedures to all youth athletes in Ohio. This legislation, signed by Governor John Kasich, becomes law in Ohio effective on April 26, 2013.
In February 2013, Dr. Congeni was the primary author of an American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Sports Medicine policy statement recommending practices to avoid arm and growth plate injuries for youth baseball and softball pitchers.
In addition, for 25 years, Dr. Congeni has been the volunteer sports physician at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, dealing with musculo-skeletal injuries, head injuries and return-to-play issues. He has been a volunteer medical advisor to the Akron-area CYO and has coached CYO athletics for 17 years.
After the Rose Mass, the Knights hosted an hour-long reception for Dr. Congeni and all other attendees.