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 Has Concussion Bill Pending, And Local Youth Recovers After Being ‘Rocked’


Posted on 22nd October 2011 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Wisconsin has a bill on youth athlete concussions pending, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last week did a nice job of humanizing that issue.

The paper, in a story headlined “Bill on concussions hits home with injured teen,” did a profile of Josh Inhof, a West Bend, Wis., 15-year-old. The article outlined what happened when Josh sustained a concussion, one that wasn’t immediately recognized.    


On Oct. 10 Josh was at junior varsity football practice, where he took a bad hit at West Bend East High School. The teen walked over to talk to his father Steven, who was coaching a team on a nearby field.    

Josh told his dad he had “got rocked” at practice. But his father didn’t think of a concussion, he just told Josh to take an aspirin for the headache he now had, according to the Journal Sentinel.

Two days later, Josh was back playing. He was hit twice at that game, and wound up unconscious on the sidelines. In that emergency situation, Josh was ultimately transported by a Flight for Life helicopter to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.  

Josh was hospitalized for two days. He was advised to recuperate and stay home from school.

The Journal Sentinel weaves John’s story in with an update of Wisconsin’s concussion pending legislation. Its bill mandates that if a student athlete is believed to have sustained a head injury, coaches have to remove he or she from the game or practice. That athlete couldn’t return to action until undergoing an evaluation by a doctor who is trained in managing concussions. And the player would need written permission to resume playing.

Wisconsin’s bill is pending a vote by the state Assembly. The state Senate is likely to consider a similar bill.

Wisconsin’s bill would be applicable to public schools, private schools, athletic clubs and other organizations, according to the Journal Sentinel, which reported that 36 states, and the District of Columbia, now have laws regarding youths and concussions.  

Wisconsin should be state No. 37.       

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.   


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.     

Why Wisconsin Needs A Mandatory Motorcycle Helmet Law


Posted on 18th July 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Early this Sunday morning at about 3 a.m., which is roughly the witching hour when bars close. a motorcyclist with a female passenger crashed into a car in West Milwaukee. The accident took place at the intersection of Miller Parkway and West National Avenue.

 The motorcyclist was killed. His passenger, who sustained traumatic brain injury, was taken to Froedert Hospital.

Neither of  them was wearing a helmet. Police declined to identify them. But the Milwaukee motorcyclist, 43, had lost his motorcycle license in April for operating under the influence. His badly injured woman passenger, 41, Sunday was from West Allis. 


Is that fatal accident an argument for Wisconsin to pass a law requiring motorcyclists to wear helmets? I think it is, but it’s a controversial topic that people feel strongly about. The Wilwaukee Journal Sentinel story about the accident had 36 comments posted on it, most of them debating whether or not Wisconsin should make helmets mandatory, as they are in some states.

Those who oppose a helmet law believe that such legislation amounts to the government intruding on their freedom (comments printed as written, typos and misspellings intact).  

“It’s unfortunate what happened to these people, but we don’t need a helmet law,” November 2012 posted. “The Government doesn’t need to make a law for every little thing. These people are adults and made a choice NOT to wear a helmet. Society does not need Government involved in every decision we make.”

 And plenty of other people, like Milltowngurl, agreed with him.

“No, the government does not need to make laws for every little personal choice in MY life, Thank you very much,” she posted. “If I want to be an idiot and not wear a helmet when I ride a donor cycle, then so be it. If I do not want to wear a seat belt when driving a car, then that should also be my choice. The only time it should not be a choice is when it applies to minors who are not mature enough to make adult decisions. Get a grip. Get the government out of our personal lives already! (or do you need someone to tell you how to live your life? If so, join the military!)”

 Those who were in favor of mandatory helmets for motorcylists were just as vocal about the need for a helmet law, not just to protect the motorcylist, but so that Wisconsin — and ultimately its residents —  aren’t burdened with the costs that are repercussions of accidents.

 “It is the govt’s role (to mandate helmets),” wrote Leatherface49. “Let’s say the passenger needs extensive hospitalization and doesnt have insurance. there’s $5 million costto society!! wear helmets you doofus’s”

Lannonresident, who was actually at the fatal accident site, agreed with Leatherface49.

“I counted 5 different law enforcement agencies that were involved when I left the scene: West Milwaukee, West Allis, City of Milwaukee, Sheriff, and State Patrol,” Lannonresident posted. “I will also let you know that all of this support came at a cost- the freeways were left unpatrolled and the drunk that almost hit me got to drive home as their were no units available due to the accident. My drunk was able to from the zoo interchange north all the way up to his far nw-side home without any law enforcement in sight. As far as more laws, remember that we do have mandatory auto insurance now and we will soon have mandatory health insurance.”

LMinMKE put it succinctly.

“Your personal freedoms end when my tax dollars have to pay for the remains of your stupid decision not to wear a helmut,” LMinMKE wrote. “Laws are made to protect me from stupid people. Sadly, they don’t always work, but they reflect SOCIETY values.”

The statistics about how helmets save lives are overwhelming. The American College of Emergency Physicians back in May, motorcycle safety month, put out a press release urging helmet use.

“People are riding bicycles, motorcycles and ATVs more often at this time of year,” Dr. Angela Gardner, president of the doctors’ group, said in the release. “Now is the time to get in the habit of wearing a certified safety helmet, because it only takes one tragic crash to end your life or cause serious injuries to your brain that can alter your life forever.”

The emergency doctors then provided these numbers:

  • The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that helmets saved the lives of more than 1,800 motorcyclists in 2008. 
  • An additional 800 lives could have been saved if all of those motorcyclists had worn helmets. 
  • Motorists without helmets are 40 percent more likely to die from a head injury.

“Helmet use is the single most important factor in people surviving motorcycle crashes,” Dr. Gardner said. “They reduce the risk of head, brain, and facial injury among motorcyclists of all ages and crash severities.” 

 Wisconsin needs a helmet law.



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.



Wisconsin Father Sentenced To 10 Years In Beating Death Of Infant Son


Posted on 17th June 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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A Milwaukee father, who beat his 2-month-old son and put the infant in a coma for six monhs before he died, was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years for first-degree reckless homicide.


The tragedy of the case is not only that Michael Cramer beat his son Matthew, inflicting traumatic brain injury on the baby. The tragedy is that the dead infant’s mother, Cramer’s father and his sister all came to the sentencing to plead to the judge to just let the defendant go home, not to jail.

The baby. Matthew Cramer,  was found with head trauma Feb. 17, 2009 . That’s the day the , his father, was taking  care of  him. The newborn went into a coma, and lingered in a comatose state for six months because Cramer wouldn’t agree to the hospital pulling life support. 

Initially Cramer was charged with child abuse. But after posting bail he took off  from Wisconsin to Illinois. 

A jury in Milwaukee County Circuit Court convicted Cramer of first-degree reckless homicide and bail jumping in April,

Even at the sentencing, Cramer continued to proclaim his innocence. He testified at his trial that he inadvertantly hurt his son while trying to resuscitate him during a sudden infant death syndrome spell. 

But experts testified that the baby’s bleeding around the brain, his subdural  hemorraging and retinal bleeding weren’t consistent with Cramer’s story about his attempts to revive the infant. 

Judge Kevin Marlens sentenced Cramer to 10 years and nine months in prison.  










Missouri Considers Concussion-Sports Law – What About Wisconsin?


Posted on 12th February 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Missouri is the latest state to be considering legislation regarding concussions and young athletes. http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/hotstories/6859080.html

The proposed Missouri law, which targets high school players, mandates that athletes remain benched from practice or games until they get approval to return from a licensed health care worker trained in evaluating concussions.

The Missouri law is modeled after Washington state’s concussion legislation, which is named after Zackery Lystedt, a teen who sustained brain trauma after returning to a football game right after getting a concussion.

The Missouri State High School Activities Association says athletes shouldn’t get back on the field the same day they suffer a concussion. The group also recommends that players who sustain three concussions in a season should be barred from playing the rest of the season, and not be allowed to return to play until having a medical check-up.

The Missouri state association also mandates that athletes who lose consciousness can’t come back to play the same day without written permission from a doctor.

There are 3.8 million sports and recreation-related concussion each year, according to the Brain Injury Association of America.

Wisconsin hopefully won’t be far behind. For an excellent local resource on sports concussion, see http://wisportsconcussion.org/

Research Finds That Exercise Can Alleviate Post-Concussion Syndrome


Posted on 11th February 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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The problem with all of the research on concussion being focused on young athletes is that it creates the illusion that concussion is always a transient injury. It is not. That young athletes show improvement with programs like discussed below doesn’t either tell us that they suffered no permanent damage, nor that someone older, in poorer physical shape might have significant disability. Keep that in mind when you read about the below study.

Special exercise and rest help young athletes recover according to research conducted at the University at Buffalo. http://www.ubspectrum.com/article/41203

Having a player rest three weeks after sustaining a concussion and developing a custom exercise routine for him or her that reduces the symptoms of post-concussion syndrome, according to the report published in the January Clinical Journal of Sports Research. http://journals.lww.com/cjsportsmed/Abstract/2010/01000/A_Preliminary_Study_of_Subsymptom_Threshold.4.aspx

It may take one or two weeks before symptoms of a concussion lessen, and during that period the patient would rest and perhaps take pain killers. But about 10 percent of those who have suffered a concussion have symptoms that can last more than three weeks or lead to permanent brain damage, conditions which are called post-concussion syndrome.

The UB researchers tested its subjects by having them do a standard exercise program on a treadmill, to determine what level of activity exacerbated concussion symptoms.

With this program, post-concussion symptoms lessened and in some cases even disappeared, according to the UB study. The exercise helped improve the auto regulation of cerebral blood flow, researcher believe, which is impacted by the post-concussion syndrome.

School bullying, once a silent battle, now a crime


Posted on 6th July 2009 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Date: 7/6/2009 4:35 AM

CHRISTINE ARMARIO,Associated Press Writer

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — In a Tampa middle school locker room, prosecutors say four flag football players held down a younger teammate and committed a horrifying assault: Raping him with a hockey stick and a broom handle.

“Don’t do it again or this is going to happen to you again,” a witness says he heard one of the boys say in the April attack.

Two decades ago, the attack may have stayed a secret. Victims of hazing, bullying and sexual assault are still often too terrified to report their attackers — though officials say that’s starting to change.

Police are called to investigate everything from cyber-bullying and schoolyard fights to brutal hazing rituals, and tormenters can be prosecuted under anti-bullying laws in dozens of states. Proactive parents aren’t afraid to confront school officials or take the matter to court, and schools are training students and teachers alike to spot and report bullying.

“Back in the old days it was, ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,'” said Kevin Quinn, a school resource officer in Arizona and regional director of the National Association of School Resource Officers. “In today’s day and age, words do hurt and that’s how a lot of the bullying begins.”

Thirty-two percent of students ages 12 to 18 nationwide had experienced bullying within the past school year in 2007, according to a report by the U.S. Education Department and the U.S. Justice Department. That number was slightly higher than the year before — though officials say it’s not because bullying is more frequent, but because it’s more often reported.

Actions by parents, including filing lawsuits, is picking up as well.

“The reason it’s picking up momentum is not necessarily the frequency of the bullying, but the manner in which people are engaging in bullying,” said Joe Braun, a Cincinnati attorney who sued on behalf of the family of a high school basketball player attacked by three teammates while waiting for a bus to take them to practice in Milford, Ohio. “It’s starting to become more physical, more sexual, and it’s not just emotional bullying like we’ve seen in the past.”

According to the lawsuit, the teens held the boy on the ground and punched him in the stomach. One of them exposed himself and rubbed his genitals on the boy’s face.

Other accusations of particularly cruel incidents have led to lawsuits and criminal charges. In South Florida, two high school students have been charged with stalking and battery for allegedly restraining a freshman in the school locker room. One of the teens admitted he did “pretend to rape him,” according to a police affidavit.

And a school district in Bakersfield, Calif., along with several students and their parents, paid $260,000 to settle a lawsuit after debate team members encased a younger student in plastic wrap and tape in a hotel room before a competition.

The Tampa case has stunned the region for its brutality, the young age of the four students accused and the fact it happened on school grounds. Equally surprising were the characteristics of the accused: One is the son of a police officer, and several are promising athletes and students who took honors classes. Each has been charged with multiple counts of sexual battery.

“It’s going to be a situation where they’re looking at it saying, ‘How could someone with this type of background, this type of character, be charged with something like this?'” said Timothy Taylor, an attorney for one of the accused boys.

The bullying had gone on for months, officials said, unbeknownst to the boys’ coach, school administrators and the victim’s parents, until the teen finally snapped.

Assistant State Attorney Kimberly Hindman said at a June hearing that the boys were fighting after a botched play during a flag football game. A school official intervened when the feud spilled into the locker room, and the teen later said he was “tired of them getting on me.”

When the four suspects were called in by school officials, they were asked to write explanations of what happened. That’s when administrators learned the boy was sodomized with a broom and hockey stick.

He identified the four suspects, who were called in by school officials. They were asked to write explanations of what had occurred. It was then that administrators learned the boy had been penetrated with a broom and hockey stick.

Hindman described it as an “intentional terroristic act” that occurred multiple times previously.

“Why doesn’t the victim tell immediately when something like this is happening?” Hindman asked. “I don’t know, judge. But there are witnesses, independent eyewitnesses, who saw the acts taking place. Some of those witnesses will describe the victim screaming when it was happening. Fighting them and he told them to stop.”

The suspects’ families have expressed a combination of shock, denial and support.

“I just don’t think that he deserved this,” one defendant’s mother said in court.

“Deserved what?” Circuit Judge Wayne Timmerman replied.

“Whatever the accusations that was made,” she said. “I just want him to live a normal life.”

The 13-year-old victim, who is not being identified because he was the victim of an alleged sexual assault, said a few words himself before the judge set bond.

“When my family members figured out about this, they started crying,” he said. “My dad was furious. He couldn’t even say nothing. He couldn’t look at me. He said, ‘Why couldn’t you tell me?'”

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.