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Douglas E. Schmidt, the Senior Trial Lawyer at the Schmidt Salita Law Team, has more than 40 years of experience, practicing as a personal injury lawyer.  He has limited his practice to the representation of injury victims, excluding representation of insurance companies.  A large part of his practice has been representing the victims of motor vehicle collisions, car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents ,and car-pedestrian accidents.  Many have involved head injuries, mild traumatic brain injuries, and concussion injuries.

His initial interest in that subject was perked by his involvement in youth hockey back in 1997 when he served as President of District 6 Youth Hockey.  He became aware that concussion injuries were being overlooked and underappreciated.  He came into contact with Dr. Michael Stuart of the Sports Medicine Department at Mayo Clinic and worked with Dr. Stuart in the development of concussion recognition protocol.  Over the years since then, Schmidt’s interest in concussion injuries has intensified and has focused on the subject of  concussion and mild traumatic brain injuries that are so frequently overlooked by both the victims and medical providers.  His research into the subject of concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries has resulted in him becoming recognized as one of the leading authorities on the subject.  He is the author of the publication entitled “Overlooked Concussion Injuries-Still In the Dark!”.  He has lectured extensively to doctors, chiropractors, and other lawyers.

Schmidt offers the following personal note:

Since I first began practicing personal injury law nearly 40 years ago, there have been many changes.  None have been so dramatic as the change in the recognition of the significance of concussion injuries/mild traumatic brain injuries.

For 40 years, it was apparent that the medical world was ignoring concussions and mild traumatic brain injuries, and the many serious and permanent consequences which result.  In the last 5 years, I have been blessed to be associated injury cases where the mild traumatic brain injuries were initially overlooked, but the clients had suffered significant permanent disability which was later confirmed by highly respected medical specialists.  We were able to bring these cases to justice-and overcome the initial oversight.  This experience led me to delve into the medical literature.  The result of that research was shocking.  I found that the respected medical research was largely inconsistent with common medical practice and the apparent understanding of the medical community.  I came to a new understanding and appreciation of the fact that most of our society remains “in the dark” about the medical research-including the medical community at large..

The world has only  come partially out of the “dark ages” regarding concussion injuries. Our society still has a a long way to go to a full understanding and appreciation of concussion injuries.  Many advances have been made in the area of sport-related concussions and mild traumatic brain injury.  The medical community and the public at large, however, remains largely in the dark.

On a related subject, I can remember the time in my personal injury practice before the advent of modern imaging, including CT scans and MRIs.  Those were the days when many of my clients complained of better pain and disability from the neck and back injuries.  Because there were no CT scans are MRIs, there was no objective proof of many of those injuries without objective proof of full measure of justice was denied.  When CT scans and MRIs became available, I often lamented the fact that many of my past clients had been denied justice before these medical advances.

The situation with regard to concussion injuries is analogous.  The existence of many significant concussion/MTBIs resulting from motor vehicle collisions and other non-sporting traumas has long been denied.  Justice has been denied to many traumatic brain injuries simply because the medical and legal community has overlooked medical knowledge and research that has been available for decades! The significance of the disabilities resulting from concussion injuries has also been overlooked. 

A small minority of our society is beginning to recognize the fact that many soldiers have returned from the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq with concussion injuries that were overlooked.  Our society is starting to appreciate that many of our football and hockey players have sustained very serious permanent brain injuries as a result of concussions on the playing field.  That understanding is still developing day by day and month by month.  It still has a long way to go.

It is puzzling to me why the understanding of concussion injuries in the sporting field has progressed so far while that same understanding and appreciation generally has not been applied to other areas of trauma, such as in motor vehicle collisions, workplace injuries, and other traumatic events.  The Department of Defense has accumulated valuable research that can, and should, be applied to non-military injuries.

The purpose of this work is to explore that curious concept of how and why our society and the health care community (with a few exceptions) continue to ignore this valuable research and knowledge-and to summarize that knowledge in understandable non-medical terms.

                                                                                               Douglas Schmidt, Senior Trial Lawyer, Schmidt-Salita Law Team


Basic Facts About Concussion Injuries and Mil Traumatic Brain Injuries.

Schmidt offers the following basic facts about Concussion Injuries and Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries.

1.A Concussion is a Traumatic Brain Injury-The Terms Are Interchangeable.

  1. Concussions/MTBIs Are a Major Health Problem That Is Underestimated and Misunderstood.
  2. The Recognition of the Severe Consequences of MTBIs Has Long Been Recognized But Grossly Ignored.
  3. The Recognition of the Severe Consequences of MTBIs Has Also Been Long Recognized In the Research But Grossly Ignored In Practice. (SAME AS #3???)
  4. Concussions Can Be The Result of Diffuse Brain Injury Due To Trauma.
  5. Coup-Contra Coup Brain Injuires are “The Whiplash of the Brain”.
  6. The Symptoms of Concussions Are Many and Variable.
  7. Most Concussions Occur Without Loss of Consciousness.
  8. Most Victims of Concussions Are Typically Not Able To Reliably Self-Report Loss of Consciousness.
  9. Emergency Physicians Admittedly Cannot Reliably Assess For An MTBI.
  10. CT Scans and MRIs Are Of No Help In Assessing MTBIs.
  11. Concussions Can Occur Without Direct Trauma To the Head.
  12. The Glascow Coma Scale Is Not A Reliable Indicator of Concussion.
  13. Many Physicians Perform a Totally Inadequate History and Examination For Concussions.
  14. Emergency Physicians Admit To Not Being Able to Reliably Assess for MTBIs.
  15. Vision-Related Tests Are Recently Considered To Be the Most Reliable Indicator of a Concussion Injury.
  16. Vision Deficits Are Recognized As a Major Impairment Secondary to Concussion Injuries.
  17. Concussion Symptoms Can Progressively Develop Over An Extended Period of Time.
  18. Post Concussion Syndrome Is A Condition Where Concussion Symptoms Persist Over Time.
  19. Many Concussion Injuries Result in Permanent Disability.
  20. Motor Vehicle Trauma Is A Leading Cause of Concussion Injuries.
  21. Neuropsychology Plays An Important But Limited Role In The Assessment of Concussions and MTBIs.