Former student sues ODU wrestling coaches over alleged traumatic brain injury

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Norfolk, Va. - Old Dominion University and their wrestling coaches are being sued for $4 million dollars, according to court records.

Former student Jordan Marshall said he didn’t get the proper medical treatment after suffering concussions on several occasions, which ultimately led to a traumatic brain injury, according to the lawsuit.

It states that in May 2014, Marshall suffered a concussion and lost consciousness but it states he was encouraged to continue to wrestle by his coaches.

The lawsuit says Marshall suffered headaches the next day and couldn’t concentrate. He told his coaches he thought his injuries would affect his exams.

It alleged that he was told to work with his professors, but not tell them he suffered a possible concussion.

The lawsuit alleges that the coaches didn’t refer him for a medical evaluation, asked him not to complain and not to tell anyone that he suffered a concussion.

According to the lawsuit, Marshall was wrestling with his alleged assistant coach and suffered another concussion.

Then while at wrestling camp in July, he started to convulse, vomit and spit up blood. That’s when the coaches allegedly got Marshall medical attention for the first time.

The lawsuit states that Marshall suffers from a traumatic brain injury with permanent damage.

The University does not comment on active litigation, but they released the policy on Traumatic Brain Injury Protocol:


  1. Traumatic Brain Injury Plan
  • All student-athletes will receive educational material regarding the signs/symptoms of a traumatic brain injury in their yearly team meetings.
  • All student-athletes in the sports of baseball, basketball, cheerleading, diving, field hockey, football, lacrosse, sailing, soccer, softball and wrestling will be required to have a baseline neuropsychological assessment per- formed on the Impact Testing program. All student-athletes will undergo balance assessment as part of their yearly physical examination prior to participation in athletic activity.
  • Any student-athlete showing signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with traumatic brain injury will be removed from practice/competition and evaluated by a member of the ODU medical staff (athletic trainer/team physician).
  • A student-athlete diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury will be withheld from practice/competition and not re- turn to activity for the remainder of that day.
  • A student-athlete diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury will be evaluated by a team physician-timing is de- pendent on ATC assessment and clinical judgment.
  • The student-athlete’s classroom activity following a traumatic brain injury will be determined and monitored by the ODU Medical Staff which includes the team physician and athletic training staff in conjunction with the aca- demic
    adviser. Other disciplines (psychologist, neuropsychologist, faculty athletic representative, Office of Disability Services, coaches and university administrators) may be brought in as needed.
  • A student-athlete diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury will receive serial monitoring for deterioration of signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with the traumatic brain injury.
  • Upon discharge by the ODU medical staff following a traumatic brain injury, a student-athlete will be provided written traumatic brain injury instruction, with a roommate, guardian or someone that can follow the instructions.
  • A student-athlete suffering from a traumatic brain injury will be required to report to the medical staff daily for evaluation and the completion a Post-Traumatic Brain Injury Symptom Chart.
  • A student-athlete suffering from a traumatic brain injury will not be allowed any type of physical activity (weight training or conditioning) until cleared to do so by the ODU medical staff.
  • Once a student-athlete is asymptomatic and returns to normal on the Post-Traumatic Brain Injury Symptom Chart, the student-athlete will be required to pass a Post-Exertion Assessment.
    (see below)
  • Once the Post-Exertion Assessment shows no reproduction of previous traumatic brain injury signs or symptoms, the student-athlete will be required to re-take the Impact Test.
  • Once the Impact Test returns to baseline limits, the student-athlete will follow a medically supervised stepwise Return-To-Play Protocol. (see below)
  • The final Return-To-Play decision of the student-athlete, as mandated by the NCAA, will reside with the team physician or the physician’s designee.

Post-Exertion Assessment Protocol Following Traumatic Brain Injury

  • Once the student-athlete is asymptomatic and has returned to normal on the Post- Traumatic Brain Injury Symp- tom Chart, the student-athlete will be required to perform a set of exertion tests as outlined below.


  1. 4. 5. 6.

1.The student-athlete will ride a stationary bike for 5 minutes at low resistance (Level 6) with increasing level of resistance every minute.

2.The student-athlete will run on treadmill for 10 minutes starting at 4 mph increasing speed every 2 minutes by 1 mph.

The student-athlete will perform 30 sit ups.
The student-athlete will perform 15 push ups.
The student-athlete will perform 30 jumping jacks.
The student-athlete will perform 15 squat thrusts/up-downs.

  • Any reproduction of previous signs or symptoms from performing any of the above tests, the student-athlete will not be permitted to return to any physical activity.
  • Once the student-athlete successfully completes the post-exertion assessment without any reproduction of signs or symptoms, the student-athlete will retake the Impact Test to establish return to baseline.

Once the student-athlete returns to baseline level on the Impact Test, he/she will be monitored as he/she proceeds through the Return-To-Play Protocol.

III. Traumatic Brain Injury Instruction For the Injured Student-Athlete

The student-athlete has suffered a possible traumatic brain injury and this instruction sheet has been sent home with the student-athlete as a guide should any problems arise with the student-athlete. If any of the below listed signs or symptoms arise, please call the attending ODU medical staff immediately. The attending ODU medical staff will pro- vide instruction on the best course of action for the student-athlete.

  • Loss of or fluctuating level of consciousness
  • Increasing irritability
  • Increasing confusion
  • Worsening headache
  • Seizures
  • Slurred speech or inability to speak
  • Forceful and/or repeated vomiting
  • Pupils becoming unequal size
  • Inability to recognize people or places
  • Numbness in arms or legs

Otherwise, you can follow the instructions below.

It is OK to:

  • Use acetaminophen (Tylenol) for headaches
  • Use ice packs on head and neck as needed for comfort
  • Eat a carbohydrate-rich diet
  • Go to sleep
  • Rest (No physical activity until cleared by medical staff)


  • Drink alcohol
  • Drive a car or operate machinery
  • Engage in physical activity (exercise, weight lifting, sport participation) until cleared by medical staff
  • Engage in mental activity (homework, computer games, TV watching, going to classes) that makes symptoms


  • Listen to load music
  1. Return-To-Play Protocol Following Traumatic Brain Injury
  • The return-to-play process is dependent upon the student-athlete’s individual sport or activity.
  • If any previous signs or symptoms of traumatic brain injury return during any phase of the return-to-play process,

the student-athlete will be removed from activity and be re-evaluated by the ODU medical staff.

  • Generally, the progression will have a 24 hour period in between each step.
  • The first step will consist of limited, non-contact sports specific activity.
  • The second step will be limited contact sports specific activity.
  • The last step will be full, unrestricted sports activity.
  • For all student-athletes, a range of “modifying factors” will influence the management and RTP Protocol. Mod-

ifiers to consider:
o Age (esp. <18 yo)
o Prior History of Concussion (esp. recent)
o Severity (Loss of Consciousness> 1 min)
o Learning Disability, ADD or Psychiatric Disorder o History of Migraines or Seizures
o Position played

  • The final RTP decision of the student-athlete, as mandated by the NCAA, will reside with the team physician or the physician’s designee.

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