MedCity Influencers

The best cornhole player in all of healthcare

Peter O’Neill was one half of the Cleveland Clinic Innovations team that won the 2009 MedCity News Medical Cornhole Tournament. Two other teams tried to poach O’Neill this year. But he’s returning to the Innovations team with a secret weapon to cut through the 50 teams participating in this year’s MedCity News Medical Cornhole Tournament on Thursday.

This article is sponsored by MedCity News.

Anyone who knows cornhole knows Peter O’Neill.

By day, he’s Cleveland Clinic Innovations’ senior commercialization officer. Once a year, though, he becomes one of the most sought-after cornhole players in Ohio.

O’Neill and Innovations Executive Director Chris Coburn won the 2009 MedCity News Medical Cornhole Tournament. This year, two other teams have tried to get O’Neill to leave the Innovations squad for their teams. One local law firm tried to poach O’Neill, as did the Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center, where O’Neill also works as a product commercialization manager.

“This has somehow become my most notable athletic accomplishment,” O’Neill said.

O’Neill can’t be bought, though. He’s returning with the Innovations team to defend the title. Plus, he said he plans to bring last year’s giant cornhole tournament bracket to place right next to him when they play.

That’s a big gauntlet tossed at the 50 teams prepared to play in this year’s MedCity News Medical Cornhole Tournament at 4 p.m. Aug. 19 in Gateway Plaza between Progressive Field and Quicken Loans Arena.  The event — many of you know cornhole either as Bags or beanbag toss — begins at 4 p.m., but games begin at 5 p.m. Teams will be matched up as they arrive.

Any company working in the healthcare industry can still register a team in the tournament (we’ll stop at 64). It costs $25 per team to register, which includes a catered picnic-style meal of burgers, hot dogs, corn and other food. Alcohol will be served but is extra, with all proceeds going to the Downtown Homeless Fund.

Attendance is free — as is heckling. But it will cost $15 per onlooker to eat. MedCity News also plans to broadcast the tournament online.

Register online through Brown Paper Tickets or at the event. For questions about the tournament, please contact MedCity News.

Downtown Cleveland Alliance, Cleveland Medical Mart and Convention Center, Fleishman Hillard, Perspectus Architecture, thunder::tech and Studiothink have graciously co-sponsored the event. The field includes the elite from healthcare and commerce in Ohio: from University Hospitals and STERIS, to Cleveland HeartLab and Kaiser Permanente, to Neace Leukens and Early Stage Partners. (MedCity News’ team also is ready. Journalists Brandon Glenn and Thomas Lee will pick up the corn bags and improve on last year’s first-round exit).

O’Neill isn’t the only one tossing the gauntlet, either. Several companies are stacking the tournament with multiple teams. Plus, the Ohio Hospital Association team has been getting fired up via Twitter (left), hoping to be the best cornhole team in Columbus and beat out the Ohio State Medical Association, which made it to the semifinals last year.

First-time team Early Stage Partners has repeatedly claimed it will take home the corn hole title this year — or, as Early Stage Managing Director Mike Bunker put it, become “cornhole champions of the world!”

We’ll find out who takes home bragging rights next week.

UPDATE: O’Neill submits the following photo holding the winning bracket. That’s what you’re up against folks.

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