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.         

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.

4 go on trial for roles in Texas school fight club


Posted on 6th July 2009 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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School fights and bullying have been in the news of late. The below story focuses on a particularly brutal aspect. What gets left out in these conversations is the risk of brain injury. Repeated beatings, blows to the head, come with serious risk of permanent brain damage. The more often the assault occurs, the more likely the permanent problems.

Attorney Gordon Johnson

Date: 7/6/2009 4:53 AM

CHRISTOPHER SHERMAN,Associated Press Writer

McALLEN, Texas (AP) — Grainy cell phone videos showing developmentally disabled students forced to fight each other will likely be shown to jurors this week as four former employees at a Texas school go on trial.

The late-night “fight club” at the Corpus Christi State School — orchestrated, authorities say, for the entertainment of those responsible for protecting the students — was uncovered in March after the images were found on a lost cell phone.

On Monday, jurors were expected to be picked for the trial of Timothy Dixon, 30, D’Angelo Riley, 23, and Jesse Salazar, 25, all charged with multiple counts of causing bodily injury to a disabled person. In a separate courtroom, Stephanie Garza, 21, was to face a lesser charge of not intervening to stop the fights. Two other former employees are scheduled to go on trial later this year.

“These people did horrific things,” said Jeff Garrison-Tate, of the advocacy group Community Now!, which has called for closing the state schools in favor of community-based services. “But they were given silent permission for these heinous acts.”

District Attorney Carlos Valdez did not return calls for comment. Defense attorneys for the accused declined to comment.

Almost 20 videos dating back to 2007 were found on a cell phone turned in to police, showing staff at the Corpus Christi State School forcing residents into late-night bouts, even kicking them to egg them on. Eleven staff members were identified and six were charged.

Dixon is believed to have shot the videos, though other staff members can been seen pointing cell phone cameras toward the brawls. None of those charged still works at the facility.

The state has taken pains to close the issue. In May, the Legislature approved a $112 million settlement with the Justice Department for widespread mistreatment found at Texas’ 13 residential facilities for the developmentally disabled. Gov. Rick Perry signed legislation last month aimed at improving oversight of the facilities that house nearly 5,000 people.

The settlement is “a big step that will certainly bring improvements and changes to the system,” said Laura Albrecht, a spokeswoman for the Department of Aging and Disability Services. She said the agency is making unannounced visits to the Corpus Christi facility and cameras are being installed.

The school’s director remains in place, to the consternation of some who say that the incidents showed a disturbing lack of supervision.

Beth Mitchell, the managing lawyer for Advocacy Inc., a nonprofit with federal authority to monitor abuse and neglect at the facilities, asked what the administration’s role in the alleged crimes was.

“They (those charged) were probably the ones instigating the fight clubs, but my concern is: How can you have it going on as long as it did without the administration knowing about it?” she asked.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

Prosecutors: Flirty juror no reason for new trial


Posted on 3rd July 2009 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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The below story is so disturbing because there is nothing more unpredictable about being a personal injury lawyer, than who winds up on a jury and why they answer the verdict questions the way they do. The interaction between parties and jurors during a long trial, is such a difficult and contrived matter. Some court houses make it a non-issue, with jurors not crossing paths with lawyers and clients during a trial. Others, you share a bathroom, see each other at every break and it is difficult not to have established some connection just in the way you say good morning or smile.

The John Grisham like jury taint/jury tampering seems so distant from the real world we trial lawyers practice in, but these types of stories can undermind our strict belief in the integrity of the system.

Attorney Gordon Johnson
©Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr. 2009

Date: 7/2/2009 10:19 PM

NOAKI SCHWARTZ,Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles fashion designer convicted of sexually assaulting seven women and teenage girls should not be granted a new trial even though a juror flirted over the phone with the defendant’s sister, prosecutors argued Thursday.

Attorneys representing Anand Jon Alexander are seeking a new trial because they believe one of the jurors, Alvin Dymally, could not have been impartial because he reached out to Alexander’s sister during the trial.

But prosecutors counter that a conversation between them was just flirtatious banter and not about the defendant’s guilt or innocence.

The district attorney’s office on Thursday released a transcript of a recorded phone conversation between Dymally and Alexander’s sister Sanjana in which the juror complimented her appearance and made plans to meet.

“The tape speaks for itself,” Deputy District Attorney Frances Young wrote in prosecution’s argument against a new trial. “It appears to capture a conversation in which Dymally wanted to privately tell Sanjana that he thought she was ‘sexy’ and that he wanted to see her ‘afterwards.'”

Leonard Levine, the fashion designer’s attorney, said parts of the conversation have not been transcribed, including Dymally telling Sanjana Alexander that he loved her. Levine said Dymally changed his vote from not guilty to guilty in November after Alexander refused to meet with him during jury deliberations.

“I think it’s clear that he was in love with her,” Levine said. “He was hardly an impartial juror.”

In the transcript, Dymally compliments Sanjana Alexander’s eyes and long hair. The defendant’s sister, who testified she called the juror because she was scared of angering him, did not say much beyond “thank you.”

“I know you don’t want to say much, but maybe afterwards I’ll speak to you,” Dymally said to her. “I’ll do every possible thing I can do.”

During the trial, Sanjana Alexander was told not to talk or have any contact with witnesses and was removed from the courtroom after violating this directive. She called Dymally twice after the juror slipped his phone number in a note and taped one of the conversations, prosecutors said.

Young chastised Alexander’s behavior but pointed out that the phone calls did not prejudice the juror’s verdicts in the trial. Alexander came forward with the tape following her brother’s conviction on Nov. 13.

A hearing is set to resume Monday on the new trial request for the 35-year-old fashion designer, who was convicted on more than a dozen counts of luring females to Los Angeles and sexually assaulting them. His seven victims ranged in age from 14 to 21.

Anand Jon Alexander faces similar charges in New York involving nine women.

The designer has been featured on the television show “America’s Next Top Model” and worked with such celebrities as Paris Hilton and Mary J. Blige.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

One Proper Precedent Set by George Bush


Posted on 28th December 2008 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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The below story highlights the one area that George W. Bush actually did show lasting leadership during his tortured 8 years in office: he put African Americans and women in leading roles in his administration. Not only did he make Condoleeza Rice Secretary of State, but also Colin Powell. For all the ridiculous incompetency of these past eight years, Bush was never reluctant to choose a woman or a black for important jobs.

For that commitment to equal opportunity, Bush should be congratulated. Sadly, the tenure of both Rice and Powell is clouded by the war of aggression in Iraq.

Attorney Gordon Johnson
©2008 Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

Date: 12/28/2008 5:02 PM
Rice: Obama election encourages people worldwide
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the country is not “race-blind” and “we shouldn’t deceive ourselves that we’re race-blind,” but said the election of Barack Obama as the first African-American president was a key moment in history.

“I think all Americans were quite taken with the fact that we were able, after the long history we’ve been through, that initial birth defect of slavery, that we’ve elected an African-American,” Rice said in an interview taped recently on CBS’ “Sunday Morning.” ”And that’s enormously heartening for people in the country, but also people worldwide who still have trouble with differences.”

Rice, who left segregated Alabama to eventually become the first African-American female to be secretary of state, warned that the United States still has problems with race.

“But I do think we’ve gotten to the place that we don’t see a person and say, ‘That’s a black person, therefore they must be …’ And that’s an enormous step forward.”

Rice, who was Bush’s national security adviser when the U.S. invaded Iraq and then became secretary of state in Bush’s second term, said the opportunities that are available in the United States still draw people from around the world to this country.

“People, even in difficult economic times, still admire, maybe even envy a little bit, the entrepreneurship of this country and its capacity to be productive,” Rice said. “But what really draws people to this country is that anybody can come here and go from modest circumstances to extraordinary achievement.”

Americans aren’t “united by nationality,” she added. “We’re not united by religion. You can be African-American or Mexican-American or Korean-American, and still be American. You can be Jewish or Presbyterian or Muslim or nothing at all, and still be American. But there are very few Americans who don’t really believe that it doesn’t matter where you came from, it matters where you’re going. And that’s what unites us, and that’s also what people worldwide find so remarkable.”

Rice said she plans to write at least two books when she gets back to Stanford, one about foreign policy and one about her parents.

“I’m where I am today because I had great parents who believed that anything was possible and then who gave me every opportunity to prove that anything was possible,” she said. “And I think that’s a story that needs to be told, because it’s in the context of that last group of parents before segregation ended in Alabama.”

Rice said she isn’t ready to think about how history will judge her as secretary of state.

“The legacy will be for historians years down the road. But what I will remember most is that I think we stood for freedom and liberty for everybody, not just for a few,” she said.

But she is confident in her work in Washington, despite critics who have called the Bush administration one of history’s worst.

Rice said the attitude about Bush’s handling of Iraq would change for the better “when the final chapters are written and it’s clear that Saddam Hussein’s Iraq is gone in favor of an Iraq that is favorable to the future of the Middle East.”

Rice, who golfs, enjoys watching football and plays piano, said she is ready to slow down, saying:

“I’m looking forward to getting up and not having so much of a calendar and reading the newspaper and not thinking I have to do something about what’s in it.”

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.

Wis. court: Cops illegally taped nursing home sex


Posted on 23rd September 2008 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Date: 9/11/2008 3:12 PM

Associated Press Writer

MADISON, Wis. (AP) _ Police who videotaped a man having sex with his comatose wife in her nursing home room violated his constitutional rights, an appeals court ruled Thursday.

David W. Johnson, 59, had an expectation to privacy when he visited his wife, a stroke victim, at Divine Savior Nursing Home in Portage, the District 4 Court of Appeals ruled. Therefore, police violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches when they installed a hidden video camera in the room, the court said.

“We are satisfied that Johnson’s expectation of privacy while visiting his wife in her nursing home room is one that society would recognize as reasonable,” the unanimous three-judge panel wrote.

The ruling means prosecutors cannot introduce the videotapes as evidence in their case against Johnson, who is charged with felony sexual assault for having intercourse with his wife without her consent at least three times in 2005.

Johnson’s attorney, Christopher Kelly, said his client would visit his now 54-year-old wife every day, reading her the Bible and moving her arms and legs so her muscles wouldn’t atrophy.

The woman’s sister is upset that prosecutors brought charges against him, Kelly said. “She believes her sister’s husband was merely expressing his love for his wife and was trying everything he could to bring her back to consciousness,” Kelly said.

The couple married in 1988 and had no children, Kelly said.

Kelly said he believed prosecutors would be forced to drop the charges without the evidence on the tapes and thought the appeals court made “a pretty obvious call.”

Johnson’s wife was admitted to the nursing home after suffering a stroke. Court records say she was unable to speak or sit up, and nursing home staff members fed, cleaned and turned her. Prosecutors say she was comatose.

Johnson visited her frequently and sometimes would close the door to her room so they could have privacy as allowed by the nursing home. But staff members tipped off police, fearing she was in danger because, they suspected, he was having sex with her.

Police obtained a search warrant to videotape the room and installed the camera, which ran for three weeks. Johnson, who is free on bail, was charged based on that evidence.

Sauk County Circuit Judge Patrick Taggart, who heard the Columbia County case as a substitute judge, tossed out the evidence last year, ruling it stemmed from an illegal search. Prosecutors appealed, arguing Johnson had a right to privacy when he visited his wife to care for her but not when he used the room for what they contend was illegal intercourse.

The appeals court affirmed Taggart’s ruling.

Department of Justice spokesman Bill Cosh said prosecutors are evaluating whether to ask the state Supreme Court to review the case.

Johnson’s wife remains in a coma at the nursing home.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.