Concussion Victim Becomes Advocate for Traumatic Brain Injury Safety

March is National Brain Injury Awareness Month, an appropriate moment to remind ourselves of the dangers that can accompany many otherwise fun and healthy activities. CBS Sports touches on this with the harrowing story of a teenager who sustained a concussion playing middle school football. Because the injury was not properly evaluated on the field Zachary Lystedt, then 13, returned to the game, with devastating consequences.

According to CBS, the teenaged Tahoma, Washington linebacker “writhed on the ground” after an initial hit near the end of the first half of a 2006 game. He returned to the field after halftime, but as the game ended collapsed in pain, his eyesight gone because swelling in his brain was cutting off an optic nerve. The teenager was rushed to the hospital where he spent a month in a coma, and another 20 months on a feeding tube. Today, “he has very little feeling and movement on his right side and remains dependent on a wheelchair,” according to CBS.

As he recovered Lystedt became an advocate for stronger rules governing student athletes and potential traumatic brain injuries. Last year Washington’s legislature passed a law, named in his honor, establishing “the most stringent return-to-play protocols of any state in the country,” according to CBS. Among other things, the law bars student-athletes who suffer a suspected concussion from returning to the playing field until they have been examined and cleared by a licensed medical professional. Lystedt now spearheads an effort to get similar legislation adopted in all 50 states, and possibly at the federal level.

The lingering effects of an Oregon traumatic brain injury can be devastating for friends and loved ones, as well as for the victim him or herself. If you, or a loved one, falls victim to an Oregon traumatic brain injury consulting with a Portland traumatic brain injury attorney at your earliest possible opportunity is an important early step toward protecting your rights and examining the legal implications of the injury and the circumstances surrounding it.

CBSSports.com: Young player helps turn trauma into action on concussions

Brain Injury Association of America: 2010 Brain Injury Awareness Month Homepage