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Category Archives: Brain Injury

Recommended Documentary – "A Not So Still Life"

Categories: Brain Injury

By Richard H. Adler. Posted on .

As the Chairman of the Brain Injury Association of Washington, I was invited to participate in a movie trailer for “A Not So Still Life,” an inspirational documentary of hope and triumph of local artist and traumatic brain injury survivor, Ginny Ruffner. This is an amazing story with a heartwarming message of never giving up and following your passion in life. It’s a 2-thumbs up documentary.

We were very fortunate to have Ginny Ruffner as our keynote speaker at the Brain Injury Association of Washington’s 5th annual Gala, Dinner, and Auction last October at the Grand Hyatt Seattle.

If you are interesting in obtaining a copy of the movie, simply contact my office at 206.682.0300 or email my assistant,

A Not So Still Life TBI Testimonial


NFL Toughens up On Fines for Improper Head Hits

Categories: Brain Injury

By Richard H. Adler. Posted on .

In October 2010, the issue of concussions and brain injuries had caught the attention of the NFL as seen by the significant fines assessed against players who caused helmet-to-helmet contact during tackles.  The fines were an initial attempt to draw black-and-white boundaries for players and league officials and to send a strong and new signal that helmet-to-helmet hits were now off limits.  The NFL’s actions demonstrated concern about the long term consequences for players and for the future of the sport.  For the remainder of the season, many players appeared unfazed by the new fines and improper hits continued throughout play-offs.   But then again, change like this does not come overnight.


In 2011, whenever football practices and games resume, and in an effort to “walk-the-talk” against helmet-to-helmet hits, the NFL will heighten its fines to reach into the owners’ pockets.  The new rule was designed to force a cascade of implementation requiring coaches to instruct players on safe and proper tackle techniques in this new era.  Despite some objections by players and owners, the NFL has clearly entered a new and enlightened era on protecting the brains of its players and the future of football.  Equally as important, the NFL’s change will have an immediate and longer term cascading effect on youth sports and the need to have greater awareness of risks and consequences when a youth athlete is suspected of having a concussion. This growing awareness will result in the prevention of preventable brain injuries in youth athletes.


As an attorney and advocate for those with traumatic brain injuries ranging from sports concussions to pedestrians struck in a crosswalk, I wholeheartedly agree with the NFL’s stand to make sports safer and protect players.  In 2009, I was fortunate to lead a coalition of local community partners dedicated to making sports safer for youth athletics.  As the then-President of the Brain Injury Association of Washington, we joined with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Harborview Medical Center, the Seattle Seahawks/Sounders FC, University of Washington,  Seattle Children’s Hospital, Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, Washington State Youth Soccer Association, Washington State Athletic Trainers Association, and Cannfield & Associates Risk Managers, to help pass the first-in-the-nation youth sports and concussion.  This law standardized the best medical and coaching practices by requiring the removal from the practice or competition following suspicion of a concussion or head injury until the youth athlete was cleared in writing by a licensed healthcare provider trained in the evaluation and management of concussions.  This law also educates students, parents and coaches to know and understand the signs and symptoms of concussion and “when in doubt, sit them out.”


To read more about the NFL’s new fines, click here to read the full New York Times article.

January 25, 2011 Presentation on Concussion

Categories: Brain Injury, Events

By PI-Advisor. Posted on .

On January 25, 2011 Attorney, Richard H. Adler, and Dr. Stanley Herring, MD (Harborview Medical Center, Seattle Sports Concussion Clinic) presented “Management of Sports Concussion Injuries with Special Reference to the Zackery Lystedt Law.” The two part presentation began with Dr. Herring outlining the signs and symptoms of concussions, how to properly diagnose and treat a concussion for healthcare providers, and return to play standards and medical clearance for youth athletes. In part two, Mr. Adler discussed the core principals of the Zackery Lystedt Law and how it impacts students, parents, coaches, and healthcare providers by requiring the new ‘Concussion Information Sheet’ to be signed by parents and students and requiring coaches to be trained on concussions and the need to remove students from practice or competition immediately after a concussion. The event was hosted by Seattle Spine & Sports Medicine and attendance was to capacity with an integrated audience including medical doctors, chiropractors, therapists, case managers, and attorneys.


The Zackery Lystedt Law was signed into law in the state of Washington on May 14, 2009. This law was the first in the nation aimed at preventing preventable brain injuries for youth athletes by standardizing the return to play procedures in school districts across Washington State. Several other states have passed similar Lystedt-type laws including Oregon, Oklahoma, Virginia, New Mexico, Connecticut, Idaho, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Texas and Rhode Island. Additional States in progress for passing this law include Florida, Nebraska, Kansas, Indiana, California, Wyoming, Utah, and New York. Mr. Adler drafted the legislation and organized a broad range of community and corporate partners in support of the law in Washington State. And now that the law is passed and getting implemented, Mr. Adler and Dr. Herring continue their work as key individuals in educating and obtaining the support of national sports medicine groups and key organizations across the United States to join their work in having the Lystedt Law adopted in all 50 states in the USA.

What is a Traumatic Brain Injury

Categories: Brain Injury

By Richard H. Adler. Posted on .

Brain injuries and other types of serious head injuries can be caused by many types of trauma. Brain injury can occur with or without an obvious blow to the head in an accident, fall or other incident. Brain injuries require specialized diagnostic and treatment techniques to address the cognitive, functional and emotional effects.

The effects of a traumatic brain injury, whether catastrophic or mild, can affect your daily activities at home and work.