At the time of his injury, he was in college, playing the sport he loved: football. He was a tough young man determined to never let an injury stop him from competing.
Today, he's 29-years-old and still struggling with the effects of the brain injury he suffered on what appeared at the time to be a routine tackle.
Then a 22-year-old linebacker, he staggered off the field after the play, collapsing on the sidelines and going into a coma.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, doctors diagnosed him with second-impact syndrome. That's a condition in which a second concussion follows a first one so quickly that the initial concussion injury hasn't had sufficient time to heal.
The second impact causes rapid, dangerous swelling of the brain and sometimes bleeding.
It's a brain injury experts say is preventable. That's why brain-injury victims, family members and supporters are launching Play Smart Wisconsin, a campaign providing information about how to avoid, recognize and treat concussions before they become severe medical emergencies.
Some of the signs of a concussion include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Dizziness or problems maintaining balance
- Double vision or blurred eyesight
- Sensitivity to light or noise
- Difficulty concentrating
Young sports participants will be encouraged to tell parents and coaches if they experience the symptoms, with all three parties signing an agreement to follow protocol to prevent injuries.
The 29-year-old former football player still struggles with the aftereffects of second-impact syndrome, including legal blindness, long-term memory problems and difficulty concentrating.
But he's focused on using his story to help today's young players avoid the injury that changed his life.
Resource: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Campaign will warn athletes of signs of concussion": January 1, 2011