Ex-Green Bay Packer Tauscher Combats The Trash Talk About Wisconsin’s Pending Concussion Bill


Posted on 26th February 2012 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Ex-Green Bay Packer Mark Tauscher is doing his part to safeguard youths against the long-term dangers of concussions.

At a press conference last Wednesday 34-year-old Tauscher, who was raised in Wisconsin, spoke up in support of state legislation aimed at reducing brain injury in young athletes. Tauscher was part of a group of doctors, high school athletes and Wisconsin legislators lobbying on behalf of the pending law, according to the Associated Press.   


Wisconsin is one of 18 states that haven’t yet passed laws mandating that student athletes be immediately pulled out of games if they show any evidence that they’s sustained a concussion. The National Football League has contacted the governors of all those states urging them to pass concussion legislation, according to AP.

As part of that lobbying, ex-pro football players have been advocating passage of the anti-concussion laws in various states. In the case of Tauscher in Wisconsin, he brought up the macho pressure of the NFL, noting that players who didn’t get out and play again after a bad hit were denigrated as not being tough enough, AP reported.

At last week’s press conference in Madison, Richland Center High School player Brock Rosenkranz said that that he had to stop playing football and basketball after sustaining 10 concussions over a three-year span. He now suffers from depression, insomnia, headaches and memory loss, and is on medication.

The proposed concussion bill in Wisconsin is similar to the so-called Zachery Lystedt Law in Washington state. That law was named after a middle school football player who quickly went back on the gridiron after sustaining a concussion, and subsequently had brain damage.  

The Wisconsin concussion bill has been approved by the state Assembly, but is now stuck in the Senate, where Republicans have been wary about passing it, according to AP.

The pending bill would mandate that student athletes who appear to have suffered a concussion be taken out of a practice or game right away, and not be pemitted to go back on the field until they’ve been checked by a doctor and given permission in writing.

As part of this process, according to AP, the state Department of Public Instruction and the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association would have to craft guidelines and educational information for coaches, athletes and their parents.

Some of the Republican state senators are suggesting an alternative bill that is patently absurd. Under that proposal, Wisconsin schools could choose whether or not to develop concussion policies. 

“Student athletes also wouldn’t be forced to leave the playing field after suffering an injury,” AP said.

So some of Wisconsin’s youth athletes would be protected from brain injury, and others wouldn’t?

I, and every other Wisconsin resident, should contact their state lawmakers and demand that the original legislation be passed, to protect kids throughout our state.         

Wisconsin Nurse Offers The Brain-Injured Hope In Muskego


Posted on 1st January 2011 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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After spending years working with brain injury patients, Wisconsin nurse Lisa Alberte decided to take matters into her own hands to find a way to help them. And her creative approach may be worth being duplicated.


Alberte started a haven for the brain-injured, Acres of Hope and Aspirations, in Muskego in May. It is located on a five-acre site in a rural area.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Wednesday did a story about Acres of Hope, which is comprised of a home and small farm where the brain-injured receive care, vocational rehabilitation, and cognitive skills and safety training.

Instead of therapy dogs, Alberte is using two deer, donkeys, ducks, chickens, potbellied pigs, peacocks and a blind pony as “creatures of rehab.” Clients at Acres of Hope get to learn the creatures’ names and care for them, tasks that improve their memory skills, according to Alberte.

The main goal of the facility is to give the brain-injured the skills they need to get and keep a job.

The story mentions several of the people being treated at Acres of Hope, including Winlom Woods, who still has a bullet in his head after being shot in by a sniper in Iraq in July 2006.

Alberte cleverly compares the situations that the brain-injured deal with to the Wizard of Oz. They are like the Tin Man, who wanted a brain. They often lose a loved one, like the Tin Man. They often lose their courage, like the cowardly Lion. And some lose their homes, like Dorothy, and wind up in nursing homes. And according to Alberte, the “wicked witches” that her patients encounter include being unable to remember, work and drive.

Continuing with that analogy, then Alberte is Glenda, the good witch. With any luck, perhaps more Acres of Hope will pop up around the country.    




Wisconsin Has Spate Of Football-Related Concussions


Posted on 19th September 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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In the past few weeks there has been a rash of concussions involving Wisconsin and football, from the NFL to college to the sixth grade.

As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel pointed out, last Sunday Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Stewart Bradley collapsed on the gridiron in a game against the Green Bay Packers. Both Bradley and Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb sustained concussions during that game, and didn’t play this weekend.


In another incident, this one on Sept. 11, University of Wisconsin-Madison receiver David Gilreath was hit and rendered unconscious in a game against San Jose State. He was carted off the field in a stretcher, and did not play in a recent game against Arizona State University.

And in a truly heart-breaking case in early September, 11-year-old Evan Coubal of Muskego sustained a concussion during a youth football game. In a freak accident several days later Coubal, a student at Bay Lane Middle School, hit his head on a football sled. He died of head trauma in a local hospital.  



The incident involving the Eagles’ Bradley, which was seen by more than 28 million people via Fox, brought the team’s handling of the situation under scrutiny.

As The New York Times wrote, during the game “Bradley rose woozily, stumbled and then collapsed onto the turf. The Fox announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman expressed concern and even horror. Players waved frantically for medical assistance.”


Yet Bradley was sent back to the field only minutes later, and his concussion wasn’t diagnosed until halftime. The Eagles defended their actions, saying that Bradley wasn’t immediately taken out of the game, as mandated by new NFL rules, because a sideline exam didn’t find a concussion. Huh? It seems that none of the Eagles’ medical personnel witnessed him take his hit or saw his collapse.

As The Times astutely pointed out, “If a concussion this glaring can be missed, how many go unnoticed every fall weekend on high school and youth fields, where the consequences can be more serious, even fatal?”      

A lot, I would venture to say.

And right next to The Times’ story Thursdsy about Bradley was another article on NFL head injuries. The headline on that piece was “A Giant’s Concussions Begin to Add Up.” The story was about New York Giants’ tight end Kevin Boss, who has suffered three concussions since 2008, with the most recent one during a game against the Carolina Panthers. 


In that story, Boss downplayed the seriousness of his concussions, telling The Times, “I’ve seen guys come stumbling off the field who can’t remember their own name. Nothing has been that bad.”

But the latest research shows that repetitive concussions have a cumulative effect on the brain, causing progressive damage. That’s what Boss is at risk of, whether or not he can remember his name after being hit on the field.  

The issue of concussions and youth athletes will be the topic of Thursday’s hearing of the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee, which is considering legislation to cut down on head injuries.  

The Journal Sentinel outlined the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Associations’s rules on concussions. Under those guidelines, young athletes who have symptoms of concussions or are unconscioius can’t go back to a game or practice the same day without a doctor’s written permission. A doctor must also approve an athlete before he or she can come back to competition afterward. And Wisconsin has a protocol for athletes to follow before they return to play fulltime.   


Milwaukee Hosts Brain Research Conference This Weekend


Posted on 18th September 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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This weekend Milwaukee is the site of a major conference on the brain, drawing hundreds of brain researchers, according to the Journal Sentinel.  http://www.jsonline.com/features/health/103169729.html

The Second International Conference on Resting-State Functional Brain Connectivity is chaired by Christopher Pawela, who is a researcher at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where the confab is being held. The fancy name of the conference simply refers to the study of the brain at rest, inactive, an area that has become a hot topic of interest in neuroscience.

For example, there have been studies on whether a person in a coma is aware and whether his or her brain responds to voice and touch.

This area of research has just gotten a boost from the National Institutes of Health, which have just given out $40 million in grants to fund research to create high resolution maps of the brain. The grants are going to two research groups: Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, who have teamed up; and Harvard University and UCLA.  

Wisconsin has helped lead the way in some of this research, particulary that relating to magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI. In 1995 the Medical College of Wisconsin used resting-state functional MRI to be among the first to demonstrate that the brain is never truly at rest. 

Researchers are banking that testing the brain while it is at rest, and finding abnormalities, can potentially lead to the early diagnosis of maladies such as schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder and Alzheimer’s disease.



NASCAR’s Jack Roush Recovering From Oshkosh Plane Crash, But Did He Sustain Brain Injury?


Posted on 1st August 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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 NASCAR team owner Jack Roush remained hospitalized and recovering from the facial injuries he sustained when he crashed his jet in Oshkosh last Tuesday, according to Fanhouse.com.


As a brain injury attorney, I can’t help but wonder if Roush has also been tested for potential brain injury. If his face was cut up, then that of course is a head injury, so my immediate thought was that he might have sustained a mild concussion.

Roush was moved to the Mayo Clinic on Wednesday, where he remains. He had undergone surgery at a hospital in Neenah, Wis., on Tuesday night.    

Roush, an aviation buff who owns many planes, flew to Oshkosh to attend the Experimental Aircraft  Association’s annual AirVenture show.

The NASCAR owner was trying to land his Premier Beechcraft jet at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh when it crashed. Roush and his passenger walked away from the plane, but Roush sustained major facial injuries.     

Fredonia Man Sustains Head Injuries In 13-Foot Fall In Sheboygan


Posted on 18th June 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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A man suffered serious head injuries Thursday afternoon when he fell 13 feet off a loading platform at a former Adell Whey plant in Sheboygan.


The Sheyboygan Sheriff”s Department reported that Michael Meyer, 48, of Fredonia took the tumble about 3:30 p.m. at the MSC Nutritional Ingredients facility at 627 Maine Ave., whch once  housed Adell Whey Co. 

Truck driver Meyer, who works for Cedar Valley Cheese, was disoriented but conscious when a rescue crew came to the scene. But then Meyer was unconscious at one point, but came to while getting treated in an ambulance at the scene of the accident.

A Flight for Life helicopter flew Meyer to Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital in Wauwatosa, where he remained in satisfactory condition.



Beach Jogger With iPod Hit and Killed By Plane


Posted on 19th March 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Over the years we’ve heard of several accidents where a jogger listening to a Walkman has been struck and killed by a train. But Monday there was a new, and tragic, twist on that scenario.

In a freak accident, Robert Jones of Woodstock, Ga., was jogging on the beach in Hilton Head Island, S.C. – and listening to an iPod – when he was struck from behind and killed by a plane making an emergency landing. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iirpHqO8nA4ZBeupaFWr_K6H7PmgD9EFTIL02

Because of the iPod, Jones didn’t hear the plane approaching the beach to land. Jones was killed instantly. Jones was a 38-year-old father of two who was on a business trip to Hilton Head.

The plane, an Experimental Lancair IV-P, had begun to leak oil and was trying to make it to Hilton Head Airport. But the oil on the plane’s windshield blocked the sight of pilot Edward Smith of Chesapeake, Va. The plane had also lost a propeller on take off from Orlando, Fla.

Smith then tried to land on the beach near the Hilton Head Marriott Resort, and struck Jones.

Jones was a salesman for GlaxoSmithKline. He was set to return to his home and family in Florida Wednesday, with plans to celebrate his daughter’s third birthday.

The aircraft had been headed to Virginia.

Family Blames Target For Selling Toy Box That Pinned Down Their Daughter, Causing Brain Damage


Posted on 9th March 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Sometimes the most seemingly harmless objects can inflict tragic damage. In the case of a family in Pennsylvania, the object was a wicker toy box.

The couple in Cranberry, Pa., has filed suit against the retailer Target over the toy box, which they alleged did traumatic brain damage to their daughter, Camryn Surman, 18 months old. http://kdka.com/consumer/Camryn.Surman.Target.2.1546545.html

The lid of the toy box closed on the toddler’s neck last July, pinning her down and choking her. Camryn’s mother has medical training, and tried to resuscitate the child. But the young girl had already sustained brain damage.

The family doesn’t know how long Camryn was trapped by the toy box lid, which cut off the supply of oxygen to her brain.

In their lawsuit, the Surmans charge that Target failed to want consumers about the potential danger of the toy box.

In the past 20 years toy-box-lid accidents have killed 45, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which now mandates supports to prevent the lids from doing what they did to Camryn. It’s unclear whether the Target toy box had the supports, and they didn’t work, of if it didn’t have them, and if so, why not.

Camryn is in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, can’t move her limbs, is on a feeding tube and can’t speak, according to the attorney for the Surmans.