How Max’s injury became Max’s Law

David Kracke is a personal injury lawyer at the Nichols Law Group in Portland and a co-author of Max’s Law, Oregon’s landmark legislation aimed at reducing the impact of brain injuries among Oregon student athletes. In mid-October, Lee van der Voo, managing director of InvestigateWest and John Schrag, executive editor of the Pamplin Media Group, talked to Kracke about the history of the law.

More providers now can clear injured athletes to play

Earlier this year, Oregon lawmakers amended Max’s Law, expanding the definition of “health professionals,” who can clear athletes with concussions to return to play. The new definition includes chiropractors, naturopaths, physical therapists and occupational therapists. The chief executive of Providence Health & Services, Doug Koekkoek, argued for including language that clarified that “a clinician should not provide medical release after a suspected concussion if it is not within the providers scope of practice.”

Also, the Oregon Medical Association, Oregon Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, and Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of Oregon penned a joint statement declaring “it is important that a neutral party clears the student to play, rather than a person who is employed by the school or the athletes’ team, as such a person may be subject to outside pressures.”

That argument led to the omission of school athletic trainers from the list of medical professionals qualified to allow concussed students to return to play.

Ready, set, hike! The story of “Max’s Law”

Ready. Set. Hike: Nearly two decades ago, during a high school football game, a 17-year-old quarterback named Max Conradt lined up under center and began a snap count. Now, a namesake law protects student athletes from the kind of tragedy that unfolded for the Waldport, Oregon player.

Getting ahead of the numbers game  

Over the past six months, reporters working on a series about high school sports concussions in Oregon have made 235 requests for records — or rather, the same request 235 times. Oregon has one state law to govern how local jurisdictions handle public records. But the responses to this same request are wide and varied across the state.

Payoffs and perils: Oregon nonprofit helps students, parents and coaches navigate the rewarding, risky world of high school sports

The Oregon School Activities Association oversees everything from track meets to choir championships in Oregon. OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber and Assistant Director Brad Garrett sat with Lee van der Voo, of InvestigateWest, and John Schrag, of Pamplin Media Group, to talk about Rattled, the news groups’ collaborative investigation into Oregon high school concussions.

Series will conduct first-ever analysis of high school sports concussions in Oregon

One in five American teens reports having suffered at least one concussion. For most students, it’s a relatively tame tale: a headache, some rest, and then back to a normal routine.
But for others, it’s a life-changing event. Reporters for Rattled: Oregon’s Concussion Discussion compile unique data on concussion injury from 238 public schools in Oregon. This series examines what they learned.