Newswise — WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 3, 2015) — What do neurosurgeons and athletic superstars have in common? A fair amount, according to American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) 2014-2015 President Robert E. Harbaugh, MD, FAANS. Harbaugh assembled the list of invited speakers for the 2015 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting, which features “Founding Principles” as its theme and star athletes from the worlds of professional football and basketball speaking during the opening ceremonies.

“It is my belief that the type of focus, discipline and practice that is needed to become an elite athlete is the same type of preparation that is needed to become an outstanding neurosurgeon. We can learn a lot from these all-star athletes who will speak at our opening session,” said Harbaugh. The two elite athletes are Peyton Manning and Bill Walton.

Manning is the Denver Broncos quarterback and the league’s only five-time MVP. He has earned his place among the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks.

Manning compiled the best statistical season by a quarterback in NFL history during the 2013 campaign, setting single-season records for passing yards and touchdown passes. He helped the Broncos become the most prolific offense in NFL history, setting a league single-season record for points scored while extending his NFL records with his fifth Most Valuable Player Award from the Associated Press. Manning was also named “Sportsman of the Year” by Sports Illustrated.

Bill Walton, the former NBA player, Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee and current sports broadcaster will also speak at the opening session. Walton began his career playing college basketball for the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Bruins in the early 1970s, where he won three straight College Player of the Year Awards and ultimately led the team to two Division I national titles. After his college career, he went on to become the number one overall pick in the 1974 NBA draft, playing for the Portland Trail Blazers, whom he led to the 1977 NBA title.

Walton was also named a league Most Valuable Player, won two NBA championships and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.

After 20 years of exhaustive treatment for foot, leg and back pain, Walton’s chronic back pain forced him to undergo minimally disruptive spine surgery, which led him to serve as a patient ambassador and spokesman for The Better Way Back, a patient support and education program.

Media Representatives: The 2015 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting press kit includes releases on highlighted scientific research, AANS officers and award winners, Neurosurgery Awareness Week and other relevant information about this year’s program. Those releases will also be posted under the “Media” area on the 2015 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting website. If you have interest in a topic related to neurosurgery or would like to interview a neurosurgeon — either onsite or via telephone — during this year’s event, please contact Alice Kelsey, AANS director of marketing and communications, via email at [email protected].

About the 2015 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting: Attended by neurosurgeons, neurosurgical residents, medical students, neuroscience nurses, clinical specialists, physician assistants, allied health professionals and other medical professionals, the AANS Annual Scientific Meeting is the largest gathering of neurosurgeons in the nation, with an emphasis on the field’s latest research and technological advances. More than 1,200 scientific abstracts were presented for review at the 2015 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting, and the scientific presentations given at this year’s event represent cutting-edge examples of the incredible developments taking place within the field of neurosurgery. Additional information about the 2015 AANS Annual Scientific Meeting and the meeting program can be found here.

Founded in 1931 as the Harvey Cushing Society, the American Association of Neurological Surgeons (AANS) is a scientific and educational association with more than 9,000 members worldwide. The AANS is dedicated to advancing the specialty of neurological surgery in order to provide the highest quality of neurosurgical care to the public. Fellows of the AANS are board-certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, or the Mexican Council of Neurological Surgery, A.C. Neurosurgery is the medical specialty concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of disorders that affect the spinal column, spinal cord, brain, nervous system and peripheral nerves.

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