Man hit while using a crosswalk; traumatic brain injury followed by outstanding recovery

crosswalk accident
It was a normal Thursday evening for Dylan Williams, a successful college student approaching his second month as a junior at Tufts University, a premier university near Boston, Massachusetts. Just like any other college student, he went to bed too late and woke up too soon, ate a breakfast that wasn’t sufficient, and was assigned more work than he wanted. Not much was different about this day until life took a dramatic turn of events for him.

Dylan was walking home from the Boston Public Library at around 8:30PM when he approached a crosswalk that connects two normally busy main streets, probably planning the rest of the night in his tired mind. A driver was traveling casually down the road at legal speeds before approaching the intersection that Dylan was attempting to cross. The traffic light presented to the driver was flashing yellow, signaling him to yield and approach the intersection with caution. It is unknown whether this light was malfunctioning or intentionally set by the city due to lower traffic rates during the late hours.

This driver failed to spot Dylan, and at the same time, Dylan put his trust in the crosswalk signaling him that it was alright to walk. It was just a few steps into the intersection before Dylan was hit by the automobile. This sent his fragile head towards the windshield with a force strong enough to smash through it. The downtown Boston traffic, or lack thereof, at the time, allowed paramedics to travel quickly and safely to a prestigious hospital with an outstanding history of neuroscience; Massachusetts General. Dylan suffered a life threatening TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and was lucky for every extra second he was able to stay alive.

The injuries were very serious. Doctors were eager for a response to their attempts to communicate with Dylan, but his nearly lifeless eyes proved unresponsive. Pressure had to constantly be relieved from his skull with a tube to prevent any more damage, or even death. The medical procedures and tests started immediately and medical staff did not hesitate to try to save Dylan’s life. Luckily, after intensive care, rehabilitation, amazing support from his family and friends, and outstanding treatment from the medical team for many weeks, Dylan was able to make tremendous recovery.

Crosswalks are designed to be as safe, visible, and legally protected as possible. They are painted on thickly with a bright white color for high visibility during both day and night. Crosswalk signals, or Pelican crossings, are coordinated with traffic lights to ensure a smooth flow of traffic as well as a safe travel for pedestrians. The only unsolved problem with crosswalks is the constantly altered variable of human error or lack of care. I often witness cars stop at traffic lights cover half or more of the crosswalk, which could in turn hinder one’s ability to cross safely without going out of its bounds. It’s too often that when a driver approaches an intersection, he properly checks his surrounding for cars; but that is exactly the issue. They may check thoroughly for other vehicles but fail to check for pedestrians at a closer distance or standing at sidewalk corners with less visibility due to vision obstructions. Because of this, it’s easy for pedestrians to be at great risk of injury during rush hours.

Dylan is an exceptional case in this situation. He is such a bright young man with a great future ahead and big plans. This accident was serious enough to make drivers give a second scan for nearby pedestrians, but Dylan and his family were blessed. They taught the world a valuable lesson without having to pay the immeasurable price of a life. Not everyone, however, has been so lucky, and pedestrians are hit and killed by cars all the time. If you or anyone you know has been injured despite proper use of a crosswalk, you may have good grounds for a case. With our experienced personal injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group, we can assure you a fighting chance. Don’t hesitate to call us now at 727-451-6900 or notify us via our Online Contact Form for a free consultation and case evaluation.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756

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How do I know if I’ve had a Concussion?


Despite the seriousness of a concussion, sometimes determining if you’ve suffered one can be a bit challenging. An impact to the head may be minimal and not lead to any immediate symptoms, however, if left untreated, it can turn serious. So what to do you if you think you’ve might have suffered a concussion? It is best to always err on the side of caution and immediately stop what you are doing and seek treatment. If treatment is not readily available, follow the steps outlined below.


  1. Check for consciousness: One of the sure signs of a concussion is the loss of consciousness. However, it not a requisite. If the person is unconscious, check to make sure their airways, breathing, and heart rate are all normal.
  2. Determine their mental state: If the victim appears to have a difficult time concentrating, foggy thoughts, a loss of memory, difficulty forming new memories, and a feeling of slowness, there is a good chance they suffered a concussion.
  3. Determine their mental awareness: if the victim is exhibiting the above symptoms, you will need to determine the extent of their awareness. Ask them simple questions such as what day is it and where they are. If they are able to answer with ease, try more difficult questions to see if they have trouble with those.
  4. Ask them how they physically feel: A victim of a concussion will often suffer from the following – nausea or vomiting, strong headaches, heightened sensitivity to light and sound, problems with their balance.
  5. Check their eyes: If there is a flash light handy, check the victim’s pupils. If their pupils do not react to the flash light in their eyes, it is a sign of a concussion.
  6. Check to see how tired they are: A victim of a concussion will often experience being very tired and needing more sleep than usual, difficulty falling asleep or amnesia, sleep less than usual, or highly lethargic and more exhausted during the day than usual.
  7. Look for changes in their emotional state: Victims of concussions will often have strange changes in their emotional state, have erratic emotions, and high levels of anger, sadness, anxiety, and fear.
  8. Always monitor the victim for an extended period of time after the incident to make sure they do not worsen, which can happen. Allow them to rest, as rest is the best medicine, but make sure to wake them periodically to make sure everything is alright.
  9. If a concussion is left untreated, it may result in a coma. Recovery is essential, and the likelihood of suffering a severe concussion increases with each head injury.


Concussions, a form of traumatic brain injury, can happen any time there is an impact to the head. This can happen in a number of scenarios, the most common being slip and falls, automobile accidents, and motorcycle accidents. No matter how severe the impact, or whether or not the victim loses consciousness, a serious injury can be suffered.

If you, a loved one, or someone you know suffered a concussion, or any other type of traumatic brain injury, as a result of an incident that was caused by someone’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages suffered. Our experienced team of traumatic brain injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group understand the serious nature of brain injuries, and fight aggressively to hold the negligent responsible for the damages they have caused. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation at 727-451-6900 or via our online contact form.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765


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How do I make sure my Child’s Football Helmet is Fitted Properly?

child in football helmetSome may say that with the start of the school year beginning this week, the summer is now officially over. While technically this is not true, it certainly may feel like it. However, with the end of summer also comes the beginning of many Americans favorite time of year — football season. Football season in 2014 is not going to be like football seasons past, however. With the landmark decision in the former NFL player lawsuit against the NFL, awareness of the risk of football players suffering from traumatic brain injuries due to multiple collisions to the head is at an all time high. Concussions, loss of consciousness, and diffuse axonal injuries are all too real of a possibility to happen in a football game. One way to prevent such injuries is to make sure the player’s helmet is fitted properly.


No matter if it’s a youngster just getting his start in pee-wee, a high-school freshman, or even collegiate and professional football players, it is important to understand how a football helmet should fit. Most coaches should be trained in how to properly fit a helmet, however, many younger children will often alter the fit of the helmet to make it more comfortable, making it more unsafe as a result. Here are the steps to properly fitting your child’s football helmet:

  1. Check and measure head size, then check to make sure the helmet size matches the head size.
  2. Hold the helmet with thumbs over the bottom of the jaw pads, and then pull the helmet down placing the index fingers in the ear holes. If the helmet cannot be pulled down onto head, or is pulled down to easily, you may need to adjust helmet size.
  3. Adjust the helmet height by inflating the helmet bladder with a proper pump. The helmet should be approximately one inch above the player’s eyes when done inflating.
  4. Then, you want to inflate the rear and side helmet bladder for a snug and comfortable fit.
  5. Next, you want to ensure the jaw pads fit properly. If they are inflatable, inflate them until they are snug and comfortable. If they are not inflatable, adjust the size until they are comfortable.
  6. To ensure a proper fit is achieved, take two hands and interlock them on top of the helmet. Then, push down on the crown of the head. The child should feel pressure on the crown of his head, but not his brow. If there is pressure on the brow, adjustments will have to be made.


Unfortunately, traumatic brain injuries can result in life-altering damage to the brain, no matter how severe the TBI. As shown by the deteriorating health of many NFL veterans, multiple, but less severe collisions to the head can have a just as debilitating effect on the human brain as an extremely severe strike to head.

If you, a loved one, or someone you know has suffered from any form of traumatic brain injury as a result of the negligence of another party, contact the experienced traumatic brain injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group today. Our attorneys have the resources to ensure our clients are properly compensated for the damages they have suffered. Call 727-451-6900 for a free and confidential consultation.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765



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New Study Shows Extent of Damage from Mild to Moderate TBI

Medical ResearchThe damage severe traumatic brain injuries can cause is widely known. Victims of a severe TBI can suffer from many permanent cognitive changes, along with being in a vegetative state, and even death in the worst cases. All brain injuries should be treated with the highest caution, however, there is not much known about the severity of cognitive effects from mild traumatic brain injuries. That is, until recently. A new study shows the extent of damage mild traumatic brain injuries have on the brain.

It has recently been discovered that mild traumatic brain injury may have a profound impact on one’s cognitive behavior and brain matter. The study, published in the journal Neurology, was performed on 44 people with mild traumatic brain injury, nine people with moderate traumatic brain n injury, and a control group of 33 people who were healthy. Researchers from Newcastle University then examined the study participants using a version of the MRI, diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). DTIs are used to determine the health of a patient’s brain tissue and are commonly used in the testing for acute ischemic stroke and severe brain trauma.

In the study, after administering the participants a DTI scan within one week of their injury, the researchers would then measure their cognitive ability with the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS). The GCS is a points-test used to test the participant’s responsiveness in the following areas: eye movement, verbal activity, and general movement. The higher the participants score, they healthier they are, the lower, the worse off they are.

The researchers found that when compared to the healthy control group, the participants who had suffered brain injuries’ DTI scans showed that there was damage to their brain’s white matter. It was also discovered that patients with mild to moderate brain injury had a 25 percent lower score than the healthy control group. The study also found that in a twelve month follow-up visit from the patients who had brain injuries, a DTI brain scan showed that some areas of the brain had returned to normal while others had not.

This study helps us develop a better understanding of mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries, and while DTIs may not be the most common scanning method for smaller injuries, when combined with the GCS, it helps give the full extent of the mild injury’s damage.


As this study shows, even mild to moderate traumatic brain injuries can cause significant damage to white brain matter, which can affect the brain’s cognitive processes of language and memory. Mild traumatic brain injury can occur even without a strike to the head, and often happens in car accidents.

If you or a loved one suffered a mild, moderate, or severe brain injury as a result of being involved in an accident due to negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages you have suffered. Contact our experienced team of traumatic brain injury lawyers today at 727-451-6900 for a free and confidential consultation.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765


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What kind of Complications can I Expect after Suffering a Traumatic Brain Injury?

brain injuryA traumatic brain injury can be one of the most tragic injuries one can suffer. They are often a result from a trip or fall, car accident, or motorcycle accident. Unfortunately, these injuries can often result in permanent damage or death. Sometimes, however, one can also suffer temporary complications from their brain injury.


After suffering a TBI, one can develop changes or problems in the way they think. The more severe the injury, the more problems they will have with the following:

  • Memory
  • Learning
  • Reasoning
  • Speed of mental processing
  • Judgment
  • Ability to focus
  • Problem solving
  • Multi-tasking
  • Organization
  • Decision making
  • Beginning and completing tasks


A victim of traumatic brain injury can also suffer from communication problems. These can make life very difficult for a victim of TBI:

  • Understanding speech or writing
  • Speaking or writing
  • Organizing thoughts and ideas
  • Following conversations
  • Turn taking or topic selection
  • Deciphering changes in pitch, tone or emphasis to signal emotions, attitudes or differences in meaning
  • Understanding non-verbal signals
  • Reading cues from listeners
  • Starting or stopping conversations


To further expand on the effect TBI can have on the brain, one’s emotions can also be effected. This can lead to very stressful days and cause many problems for the victim trying to get by in everyday life:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Lack of empathy for others
  • Anger
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in self-esteem


A traumatic brain injury can have serious, life-altering consequences. Not only will time and money be spent on treating the initial injury, but also on rehabbing all the problems that can develop because of that injury. Quality of life will be greatly affected, from financial to emotional to intellectual. Often times, the accidents that cause these injuries are a result of negligence. If that is the case, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages suffered.

Dolman Law Group has an experienced team of brain injury attorneys that understand the hardships one goes through after suffering a traumatic brain injury. Our attorneys are up to date on the latest medical advances made in the field of brain study, and have access to the best network of doctors and technology used to test for brain injuries. Our attorneys are experienced in combating the insurance companies and defense lawyers in their weak attempts to discredit the severity of head injuries and their lasting effects. We have had clients who have suffered severe head injuries in accidents where blows to the head were not sustained.

If you or a loved one have suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of an accident caused by negligence, and have suffered from any of the symptoms listed above, contact Dolman Law Group at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation. We will be happy to evaluate your case.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, Fl 33765


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Types of Tests and Diagnosis used for TBIs

The immediate diagnosis and treatment of traumatic brain injury is crucial to the victim’s future health. These injuries usually happen in situations where doctors or emergency responders are at least a few minutes away, each minute passing putting the victim at more risk. That is why there are multiple tests for traumatic brain injuries, ranging from ones that can be done at the scene of the accident to high-tech tests once the victim arrives at a hospital.

It is important to know and understand how and why such tests are performed to ensure that if you or a loved one has possibly suffered a TBI, you are being treated properly and promptly. If one has suffered a TBI and the injury is neglected either in time of diagnosis and treatment, or in proper testing, the negligent party may be held responsible.


  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging

    Glasgow Coma Scale: the initial test for doctors or emergency responders to evaluate the severity of a brain injury. Eye response, verbal response, and motor response is graded on a 15-point scale. The lower the score, the more severe the injury. The higher the score, the less severe the injury.

  • CT Scan (computerized tomography): a CT scan can detect bleeding in the brain, skull fractures, hematomas, brain bruises, and the swelling of brain tissue. A CT scan uses multiple X-rays to put together a detailed look into the brain.
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): Often used after the victim’s condition has stabilized, a MRI uses magnetic and radio waves to develop a high definition image of the brain.
  • Intracranial Pressure Monitor: a probe used to monitor the cranial pressure in a victim’s skull that is the result from brain swelling.

There are also a series of items a witness can observe about the accident or the state of the victim that will help first responders treat the injured person.


  • How did the injury occur?
  • Did the person lose consciousness?
  • How long was the person unconscious?
  • Did you observe any other changes in alertness, speaking, coordination, or other signs of injury?
  • Where was the head or other parts of the body struck?
  • Can you provide any information about the source of the injury?
  • Was the person’s body whipped around or severely jarred?


If you or a loved one suffered a traumatic brain injury as a result of an accident, and believe the injury was improperly handled, you need to immediately contact the experienced team of brain injury lawyers at Dolman Law Group.

We are up to date on the best forms of testing and technology for the testing and treatment of TBIs, and will ensure that you received the proper care from medical staff. Our attorneys are available 24/7 for all of our client’s needs, and even provide personal cell phone numbers on their business cards. TBIs are serious and can greatly change the day to day life of victims who have suffered from them. This is why quick and proper care needs to administered to all potential victims. At Dolman Law Group, we make sure all negligent parties will be held responsible in the mistreatment of a TBI victim.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765


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In the wake of the NFL’s $765 million concussion lawsuit settlement, the NCAA looks to be faced with a similar legal battle. The number of concussion-related lawsuits filed against the governing body for collegiate athletics moved to five last week when attorneys for former Kansas fullback Chris Powell filed suit in U.S. District Court in Western Missouri. The longest running of the five suits, filed in 2011 by former Michigan wide receiver Adrian Arrington, is currently in mediation.

The five lawsuits similarly allege that the NCAA lacked policies to protect and care for student athletes who suffered concussions or other head injuries, and also that it failed to educate student athletes about the potential consequences of brain injuries.

According to documents filed in the litigation, there were more than 29,000 concussions in NCAA-sanctioned sports between 2004 and 2009 – with the majority occurring in football. A recently as 2010, the NCAA didn’t have any stated concussion protocol for member schools to follow. In 2011, the NCAA required all schools to develop concussion management plans to outline how injured athletes should be evaluated, treated, managed, and allowed to return to play. Despite this requirement, individual schools were left to develop plans on their own and there was little, if any, oversight from the NCAA. In fact, NCAA medical director David Klossner admitted that the organization has largely failed to monitor whether schools have implemented concussion management plans and not a single NCAA member school has been sanctioned for failing to institute a plan to date.

Although the NFL settled its concussion lawsuit for hundreds of millions of dollars there were actually some mitigating factors that reduced the NFL’s liability in that suit. The same cannot be said for the NCAA as most would agree it owes a higher duty of care to student athletes than the NFL does to its players. For example, most of the plaintiffs in the NFL lawsuit were covered under a collective bargaining agreement negotiated on their behalf by the NFL Players Association. NCAA players have no such protection. Not to mention, NFL players are well compensated for their services and thus concussions are arguably a known job hazard. NCAA players on the other hand are not paid despite the NCAA profiting handsomely from their revenues, especially in college football. These realities make it more likely that the NCAA breached a duty of care it owed to college athletes and thus more likely that the NCAA will be making a large payout to former players in the near future.

The size of that payout will largely depend upon how many plaintiffs are involved in the suit. All suits filed thus far are seeking class action certification, but before any of the suits can proceed as a class action, the presiding judge must certify the class. The plaintiffs are seeking to define the class as “all former NCAA football players who sustained a concussion(s) or suffered concussion-like symptoms while playing football at an NCAA school, and who have, since ending their NCAA careers, developed chronic headaches, chronic dizziness or dementia or Alzheimer’s disease and/or other physical and mental problems as a result of the concussion(s) suffered while a player.”

Personal Injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group are experienced and aggressive Florida traumatic brain injury attorneys who are often called upon by their colleagues to co-counsel head injury cases throughout the State of Florida. If our injury law attorneys can be of any further assistance, do not hesitate to call us immediately for a free case evaluation and consultation. 727-451-6900. Please visit our website to learn more about Traumatic Brain Injury

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Sports Related Traumatic Brain Injury Continues

Well into the fourth quarter senior wide receiver Charles Youvella of Hopi High School in Flagstaff, Arizona fell hard on his head and collapsed a couple of plays later; he died Monday of traumatic brain injury. Thursday, Missouri high school football player Chad Stover also died; he was hospitalized with a brain injury since October. These deaths come at a time where head injuries in football are attracting attention at all levels of the sport.

The Institute of Medicine and National Research Council called for a national system to track sports related concussions and answer questions about youth concussion. The report said 250,000 people age 19 and younger were treated in emergency rooms for concussions and other sport or recreation related brain injured in the country in 2009. That was an increase from 150,000 in 2001.

Studies have shown that concussions are often not taken seriously and school-age athletes are encouraged and allowed to return to play before full recovery. This leaves them susceptible to more significant injury including traumatic brain injury (TBI). According to Barry P. Boden, MD, from the Orthopedic Center in Rockville, Md., and adjunct associate professor at the Uniform Services University of the Health Science in Bethesda, Md., high school football players have more than three times the risk of a catastrophic traumatic brain injury than their college peers.

A traumatic brain injury occurs when an external force traumatically injures the brain. The force can compress or damage delicate brain tissue depending on what type of brain injury results. In addition to sports, causes can include falls, vehicle accidents and violence. Disabilities resulting from a TBI depend upon the severity of the injury, the location of the injury, and the age and general health of the individual. Some common disabilities include problems with cognition, sensory processing (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell), communication, and behavior or mental health (depression, anxiety, personality changes, aggression, acting out, and social inappropriateness).

A person with a mild TBI may remain conscious or may experience a loss of consciousness for a few seconds or minutes. Other symptoms of mild TBI include:

  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision or tired eyes
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Fatigue or lethargy
  • A change in sleep patterns
  • Behavioral or mood changes
  • Trouble with memory, concentration, attention, or thinking.

A person with a moderate or severe TBI may show these same symptoms, but may also have a headache that gets worse or does not go away, repeated vomiting or nausea, convulsions or seizures, an inability to awaken from sleep, dilation of one or both pupils of the eyes, slurred speech, weakness or numbness in the extremities, loss of coordination, and increased confusion, restlessness, or agitation.

Anyone with signs of moderate or severe TBI should receive medical attention as soon as possible. Because little can be done to reverse the initial brain damage caused by trauma, medical personnel try to stabilize an individual with TBI and focus on preventing further injury. Primary concerns include insuring proper oxygen supply to the brain and the rest of the body, maintaining adequate blood flow, and controlling blood pressure.

If you or a loved one has sustained a blow to the head or a whiplash injury as a result of the negligence exhibited by an individual or corporation, it is important to be treated by a physician familiar with traumatic brain injury to determine whether an injury to the brain has actually occurred. A traumatic brain injury can have a pronounced effect on your quality of life including the ability to interact with loved ones and friends as well as the ability to work.

Personal Injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group are experienced and aggressive Florida traumatic brain injury attorneys who are often called upon by their colleagues to co-counsel head injury cases throughout the State of Florida. If our injury law attorneys can be of any further assistance, do not hesitate to call us immediately for a free case evaluation and consultation. 727-451-6900. Please visit our website to learn more about Traumatic Brain Injury

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Quick Facts about Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury

Roughly 1.4 million people in the United States suffer a traumatic brain injury each year. About 75 percent of these are a minor traumatic brain injury, or mTBI. An mTBI may cause temporary change in mental status including confusion, an altered level of consciousness, or perceptual or behavioral impairments. According to the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (JAAOS), motor vehicle accidents and falls are responsible for most cases of mTBI. “Musculoskeletal injuries are often seen concurrently with some studies estimating that 50 percent of patients with orthopedic injuries also sustain a mTBI,” says lead study author Richard Uhl, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Albany Medical Center in Albany, N.Y.

Quick Facts About mTBI:

  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control declared mTBI a public health issue and a silent epidemic.
  • Patients with multisystem trauma and mTBI are almost twice as likely as those with multisystem trauma alone to have persistent cognitive impairment and to report symptoms of depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
  • Patients with mTBI and lower extremity injuries are three times more likely to experience cognitive and behavioral difficulties at one year post-injury than those who sustain only lower extremity trauma.
  • When symptoms last for more than three months, a patient is said to have post-concussion syndrome, a disorder that can be associated with substantial financial, social and emotional issues.
  • Males from newborn to 4 years old are among the population most prone to suffering mTBI and have the highest rate of TBI-related emergency department visits.
  • Males are more likely than females in all age groups to sustain mTBI.

80 percent of patients who sustain an mTBI can be discharged from the hospital and will fully recover. Still, mTBI often goes undiagnosed because frequently symptoms do not become apparent until a patient resumes his or her everyday life. Part of the reason this happens is because a CT scan can come back normal even when a patient has an mTBI.

Up to 58 percent of patients will experience symptoms such as headache, fatigue, dizziness, anxiety, impaired cognition and memory deficits one month after injury. Up to 25 percent of those who suffer mTBI may have residual symptoms that sometimes lead to compromised function that can last for a year or more after the injury.

After an mTBI, patients are also at risk for Secondary Impact Syndrome (SIS) – sustaining a second concussion before symptoms of the initial concussion have healed, causing greater injury. According to study co-author and orthopedic surgeon Andrew Rosenbaum, MD, “second-impact syndrome can have devastating consequences, including rapid-onset swelling of the brain, worsening function of the brain, spinal cord, muscles or nerves, and instability of normal body functions.

If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury, consider contacting an experienced attorney who has knowledge of brain injuries and could potentially assist you in getting compensation for any negligently caused injuries. Call today. (727)451-6900. For more information about TBI, please read about our practice

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Second Impact Injury

As Ryne Dougherty stepped onto the practice field with his football teammates at Montclair High School in New Jersey on September 18, 2008, he was determined to prove to his coaches that he was ready to be a varsity player. Fifteen minutes into practice the junior linebacker, standing 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighing 180 pounds, joined in on the tackle of a varsity player. As the play ended and the other players returned to their positions, Ryne was still on his back, complaining that his head hurt. When the school’s athletic trainer arrived on scene Ryne told her “I am dizzy and have a headache.” Minutes later, Ryne was vomiting as well.

Some 25 days later Ryne was back on the field for a junior varsity game against New Jersey powerhouse Don Bosco Prep. During a play in the first quarter Ryne was knocked on his back while attempting to make a tackle. After the play he was on the ground grabbing his head and clearly in pain. Although Ryne was able to get to his feet with the help of teammates, he collapsed before reaching the sideline and soon after fell into a coma. Ryne would die just two dies later.

In September of this year, the Montclair Board of Education agreed to pay Ryne’s family $2.8 million to settle a 2009 negligence lawsuit alleging that the school’s decision to let their son back on the field led to the 16-year-old’s death. Experts hired by Ryne’s family attribute his death to Second Impact Syndrome (SIS), an affliction that leaves its victims vulnerable to even the most minor blow to the head because the brain has yet to heal from a previous injury. Victims are almost always adolescents.

While this tragic story occurred outside of Florida, the issue of SIS and young athletes is especially relevant here in the Tampa Bay area where high school football is both highly competitive and popular. It is certainly a topic that young athletes and their parents would be wise to become more informed about what, including what SIS is and how it can be prevented.

SIS consists of two events. Typically, it involves an athlete suffering post-concussive symptoms following a head injury. If, within several weeks, the athlete returns to play and sustains a second head injury, cerebral swelling, brain herniation, and death can occur. While rare, SIS is especially devastating in that young, healthy patients can potentially die within a few minutes. Consequently, it is vital that physicians correctly diagnose concussion symptoms and counsel young patients and their parents when it is safe for the athlete to return to play. Unfortunately, in Ryne Dougherty’s case, a lack of oversight from both his own doctor and the school’s athletic trainer led to a preventable tragedy occurring.

So what can be done to prevent this from occurring again in the future? Doctors say that any athlete who still shows signs of concussion should not be allowed to return to play. Such signs include fatigue, headache, disorientation, nausea, vomiting, feeling “in a fog” or “slowed down”, as well as other differences from a patient’s baseline. The American Academy of Neurology has also released guidelines for the Management of Sport-Related Concussion. That being said, the difficulty lies in deciding the appropriate return to play when the athlete is completely asymptomatic. Parents, teachers, and coaches must observe the athlete closely. High school athletes, especially those with scholarship opportunities, will likely try and convince parents and coaches that they feel fine, in order to resume play sooner. If there are any doubts as to the severity of the injury, the patient or athlete should not be allowed to resume play.

If you or someone you know suffered a brain injury due to the failure of others to follow proper concussion guidelines it’s important to know what rights you have. You should consider contacting an attorney with experience handling brain injury cases who can help you evaluate whether you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. The qualified attorney’s at Dolman Law Group are here to help and can be reached at 727-451-6900. To read more about our practice please visit

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