Youth Opportunity Foundation

YOF Creates Advisory Council on Traumatic Brain Injury

Indianapolis-based Youth Opportunity Foundation (YOF) today announced the creation of a Clinical and Scientific Advisory Council to help support its mission of supporting and directing services to promote the wellbeing of vulnerable youth.

The Advisory Council has chosen traumatic brain injury (TBI) as its first area of focus based on the pervasive nature and impact of TBI on children in the justice system. TBI causes a lack of impulse control and impaired decision-making, putting those with a TBI at risk for criminal behavior and substance abuse. Children and teens who suffer a TBI, including severe or repeated concussions, are nearly 20 times more likely to interact with the juvenile justice system or be admitted to a psychiatric hospital due to criminal conduct disorder.  In addition, screening shows that 50% of adolescents enter juvenile justice with a history of moderate to severe TBI.

“These injuries are not always major injuries. Repeated minor concussions over time, put young people at risk as they disrupt a developing brain, affecting impulse control and decision making,” said Dr. Lance Trexler, Executive Director of Brain Injury Rehabilitation Research and Program Development at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana and member of the YOF Clinical and Scientific Advisory Council.

The council brings together some of the foremost leaders in brain injury, education, and the juvenile justice system, including:

  • Michael Baglivio, Ph.D., Criminology; Vice President, Research & Development, Youth Opportunity Investments
  • Judy Dettmer, MSW, Director of Strategic Partnerships, National Association of State Head Injury Administrators
  • Christina Dillahunt-Aspillaga, Ph.D., Associate Professor, College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, University of South Florida
  • Taylor Hunter, JD, Associate, Education Law, Barnes & Thornburgh LLP
  • Scott McCormick, MS, Chief Operating Officer, Orbis Education Services
  • Drew Nagele, PsyD, CBIST, FACRM, Clinical Professor, School of Professional & Applied Psychology, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Lance E. Trexler, Ph.D., HSPP, FACRM, Exec. Dir., Brain Injury Rehab Research & Program Dev. Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana and Clinical Assistant Professor, Dept. of Physical Medicine & Rehab at IU School of Medicine
  • Christopher Wellbrook, Secondary Education; STEM Teacher, Westfield (Indiana) High School

The Council is led by Denny Armington, President, Youth Opportunity Foundation.  “TBI was recognized as a silent epidemic among children and an underlying cause of behavioral issues and lack of impulse control, long ago, it is time that we expand our assessment and treatment capabilities to include justice-involved youth,” said Armington. “Our goals are to address TBI in vulnerable children thus decreasing interaction with the juvenile justice system and to increase successful completion of education opportunities and attainment of competitive employment for all youth.”