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.

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.

Oregon schools fall behind on returning concussed students to classroom

When her six-year-old son Westen suffered a fall in September leading to a concussion, Stephanie Shimp-Taylor turned to her school for help. In need of accommodations for her son, Shimp-Taylor found herself under pressure for her son’s low attendance. Although Oregon law has measures in place to support student athletes, it’s often up to schools to fill in the gaps in the classroom for non-athletes. Oregon is offering an online course for educators called “In The Classroom After Concussion.”

Closing the gaps in concussion law

Morgan Brunner, 13, received a concussion when hit by a stray ball during warm-up for a game of futsal. Thanks to Jenna’s Law, parents and coaches had received information about proper care and concussion protocols. Despite these success stories, there are still grey areas this law doesn’t cover, lawmakers say.

Checking the blind spot

Jenna Sneva, a competitive skier from Sisters, Oregon, estimated she had 11 concussions before being diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome. Her namesake law – Jenna’s Law – helps protect young athletes competing outside of public schools.

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.

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.