Johnson, a skier and leader in halfpipe skiing, died in an accident Wednesday when he hit his head against a rock in Squaw Valley, Calif.
The 26-year-old, who had sustained traumatic brain injury earlier in his career, was skiing on Light Towers with friends when he reportedly fell down face first, twisted around and hit the back of his head on rocks. Johnson was wearing a helmet, which was damaged in the accident.
Johnson had been in the superpipe and halfpipe competitions at the X Games.
Back in 2005, another skier landed on Johnson in an accident in Utah. Johnson, who suffered traumatic brain damage, was put in a coma for 10 days. But he was soon back skiing after spending some time in a rehabilitation facilty, where he had to learn how to talk again.
Some “return to play” decision are just ridiculous. Anyone who suffers a severe brain injury (a coma) should frankly be disqualified from balance, instant decision making, perfectly coordinated activities where there is any risk of further brain injury. Despite what the team doctors might have wanted to believe, or Johnson himself believe, a brain injury severe enough to put someone in a coma, will not have a complete recovery. The goal is a satisfactory recovery, but that doesn’t mean that a finely tuned athlete will ever be able to do all the things again that it takes to excel, or in Johnson’s case, even survive.
If a doctor released Johnson for skiing, that doctor should be answering for his death.
Attorney Gordon Johnson
Past Chair Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group, American Association of Justice
firstname.lastname@example.org :: 800-992-9447 :: Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.