Former high school football star sues over concussions

Former Parkrose High school football star Jonathan Boland, has filed a lawsuit against the Parkrose School District alleging the district committed child abuse and negligence by failing to protect him under Oregon state concussion law. The lawsuit alleges that Boland showed signs of a concussion throughout high school and should not have been allowed to return to play, despite receiving a medical release. When his mother, Renee Boland, asked the district for all records relating to her son’s concussions in January 2019, the school requested she sign a waiver stating the district would not be held accountable, which Boland refused to sign.

School to concussed student’s mom: Sign away your right to sue

Jonathan Boland’s mom was told she’d have to sign a waiver to get access to records relating to her son’s injuries
Renee Boland was trying to understand where it all went wrong. When her son, Jonathan, was arrested for a string of 2016 convenience store robberies, it seemed so out of character that she wondered if his concussions, suffered playing football for Portland’s Parkrose High School and Portland State University, might have been a factor. In order to piece together the sequence of Boland’s return to play from a series of high school concussions, Renee and Jonathan Boland sent a request to Parkrose High School on March 16, 2018, asking for video footage of the games and copies of the medical documentation in Jonathan’s file. The reply from Parkrose administration stunned Renee. Karen Gray, the superintendent at the time, wanted Renee to submit not only a request for Jonathan’s records, but also give a written assurance that she would not sue the district.

On top of the world. Until one too many concussions

Jonathan Boland went from star quarterback to state inmate. Did concussions play a role? Boland suffered four concussions in his 12-year football career in Oregon, leaving him mentally and physically changed. “What’s portrayed in these robberies is not my son,” his mother Renee said.

Missing the trainer: Small and rural schools are least likely to have athletic trainers

High schools with athletic trainers are much more likely to identify and treat concussions than schools without them. Analysis by Pamplin Media Group, InvestigateWest and Reveal shows that out of the 235 public high schools in Oregon, fewer than half have at least one athletic trainer. Nearly 47,000 students, or about 28 percent of students statewide, attend schools that do not have an athletic trainer.

Oregon’s ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’: Concussion investigation highlights role of athletic trainers

Oregon public high schools with athletic trainers are better able to identify athletes with concussions and reduce overall injury rates. Over a two-year period, there were 566 football concussion evaluations at schools with athletic trainers and 34 at schools without trainers, according to an analysis of records by InvestigateWest, Pamplin Media Group and Reveal of records from 119 high schools.

Rattling the data: Concussion investigation gleans lessons from public documents

A key finding of the yearlong investigation was that student athletes in Oregon get more frequent and more thorough medical evaluations for concussions at schools that employ athletic trainers. Schools with athletic trainers reported twice as many possible concussions per student athlete as did schools without a professional trainer. Football players at schools with trainers were more than three times as likely to be kept out of play until medically cleared.

Student athletes aren’t the only ones getting concussions — and needing classroom help

Due to three tragic cases showing the impact of recurrent concussions on the sports field, many states now have protections for kids in sports. But often forgotten are the kids off the field. In today’s story, InvestigateWest and Pamplin Media Group explore four programs that provide brain injury education for the teachers and school staff who help kids in the classroom.