Brenda Easter, Chief Executive Officer
Brenda is the President/CEO of the Indianola Chamber of Commerce. She is a graduate of Simpson College in Indianola, IA. She and her husband Myles have 3 sons, all who graduated from Indianola High School and Grandview University. Most of Brenda’s career, about seventeen years, was with the State of Iowa where she started in an entry level position and was promoted over time to the executive level. Her focus at the state was in the education and energy sectors. She and her family, along with a group of talented individuals, founded CTE Hope after the loss of her son, Zachary, to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) as a result of the many concussions and subconcussive hits he sustained throughout his life. She is committed to sharing her son’s legacy to make contact sports safer.
Alison Epperson, Chief Communications Officer Hope
Alison Epperson, JD received her Bachelor of Arts in Politics and International Studies from Centre College in Danville, KY and will receive her Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University School of Law in Cleveland, OH. In 2013 and 2014, Alison spent time working for the Honorable Tom Harkin in his Washington, D.C. Senate office, focusing for awhile on disability issues, and spent the summer of 2016 interning at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Ohio. Alison was then a summer associate at Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe’s New York office and will start as a full-time associate in September 2018. Alison was Zac Easter’s long-time girlfriend and first became connected and knowledgeable of CTE through him. She was involved in the founding of CTE Hope and currently serves as our Chief Communications Officer, while also assisting in programing and development. In terms of CTE Hope’s mission, Alison’s main passion stems from the support side of the disease and our organization as that is the role she played most prominently in Zac’s life. Alison currently lives in Cleveland, OH while she finishes up earning her J.D. requirements.
Mike Hadden, Chief Science and Research Officer
Mike Hadden, MS LAT ATC CSCS has been a Professor at Simpson College in the Department of Sports Science and Health Education since 1997. He has been a nationally certified and state-licensed athletic trainer for 25 years. He has evaluated and managed over 500 sports-related concussions (mild traumatic brain injury) at the high-school and college level. Hadden earned an undergraduate degree from Buena Vista University and his Master’s degree from the University of Kansas in biomechanics and sports administration. In 2008, Hadden was recognized as The Iowa Athletic Trainers’ Society (IATS) Educator of the Year. Since Hadden’s arrival at Simpson in 1997, the Athletic Training Education Program has grown exponentially, with enrollment growing over 300% and doubling the staff size. He has taught almost every course in the Athletic Training curriculum, although now focuses primarily with Administration, Rehabilitation, and General Medical courses. He has also taught courses in Simpson’s cornerstone general education program. In 2007, he was awarded Simpson’s Outstanding Junior Faculty Award. Hadden’s main interests are the effects of concussions (mild traumatic brain injury) and CTE. He currently is working on publishing his sabbatical report that focuses on concussions, neuroinflammation, CTE, gene expression, and the protein degradation systems. In addition, Hadden is working with Sue Wilson on publishing a case-report on CTE, including the first-ever genomic analysis. Hadden is also applying for a NIH grant to study biomarkers of concussions that would aid in the sideline diagnosis of concussions as well as using saliva biomarkers. Hadden resides in Indianola, IA.
Sue Wilson, Chief Research and Resource Development Officer
Sue Wilson, MS LAT ATC PES HHC has been a Certified Athletic Trainer since 2001 and received her degree from Simpson College. She received her master’s degree in Exercise Physiology from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2005 and in 2007 became a Performance Enhancement Specialist from the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She received her Certification for Holistic Health Coach from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in 2013 where she was trained in more than one hundred dietary theories and studied a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods. Sue is an adjunct Professor at Simpson College in the Sports Science and Health Education and a Physical Education Instructor at Victory Christian Academy. She is passionate about improving people’s well-being by teaching them to create a lifestyle of health and happiness in their daily lives. As an Athletic Trainer, she has encountered several athletes with lasting effects of head trauma and is passionate about providing hope and natural healing for athletes and their families. Sue opened her own business, 3E Wellness LLC, in 2013 with a mission to invest in the health care of American Families and teach them how to take control of their health in a natural way that encompasses healing in all areas, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Sue lives with her husband, Mike, and their two daughters in Indianola, IA.