Traumatic Brain Injury: Lessons Learned from Our Nation’s Athletes and Military

Veterans Clinic Symposium

November 11, 2015
Hulston Hall


Douglas E. Abrams

Associate Professor of Law
University of Missouri School of Law

Douglas Abrams Douglas E. Abrams, a law professor at the University of Missouri, coached youth hockey for more than 40 years. In 2013, he received the Excellence in Safety Award presented by USA Hockey, the sport’s national governing body. He is the first lawyer to receive the award, which usually recognizes a nationally-known physician or medical researcher for “outstanding contributions through many years of service to make hockey a safer game for all participants.”

The New Hampshire Union Leader has called Professor Abrams “one of the people who help serve as the conscience for anyone involved in youth sports.” He serves on the board of directors of the MomsTEAM Institute, a leading youth sports health and safety advocate heavily involved in concussion prevention and care. He also serves on the board of advisors of the University of Missouri Children’s Hospital. He is vice-chair of the advisory board of the Missouri Division of Youth Services (DYS), and serves on the board of directors of the Missouri Juvenile Justice Association.

With royalties from the five books he has written or co-written, Professor Abrams created the Happiness For Health program at the MU Children’s Hospital. This is a permanent endowment that provides toys, stuffed animals and games for sick and injured patients, and also provides parties for children hospitalized on their birthdays and other special occasions.

In 1994, Professor Abrams received the Meritorious Service to the Children of America Award, presented by the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. In 2011, he received The Missouri Bar’s Distinguished Service Award for career-long contributions to the law.

Paul Anderson

Paul Anderson

Attorney, The Klamann Law Firm

Paul D. Anderson is a plaintiffs’ lawyer at The Klamann Law Firm in Kansas City, Mo. His practice focuses on sports injury litigation, complex litigation and employment law. He currently represents several former NFL players in lawsuits against the NFL, Kansas City Chiefs and Arizona Cardinals. He graduated summa cum laude from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law in May 2012.

Mr. Anderson is an accomplished writer, lecturer and legal analyst on concussion litigation. He also serves as an adjunct professor of law at UMKC, teaching The Emergence and Transformation of Concussion Litigation. During his last year of law school, he immersed himself in the medical and legal issues involving concussions in sports. Noting the emerging area of sport concussion injury litigation, he created the website It has become the “go-to source” for chronicling the litigation against the NFL and NCAA. The national media regularly seeks his insight, and he has been a panelist at multiple CLEs and sports law symposiums discussing the NFL and NCAA concussion litigation.

Angela Drake

Director of the Veterans Clinic and Instructor
University of Missouri School of Law

Angela DrakeProfessor Angela Drake is director of the Veterans Clinic and instructor at the University of Missouri School of Law. Before joining the law school, she practiced law for more than 25 years in in the areas of complex and class action litigation and insurance coverage and defense. She was a shareholder in the firm of Niewald, Waldeck and Brown in Kansas City, where she practiced for 18 years. She then became a member of Lowther Johnson, LLC, located in Springfield, Mo. In the course of her practice, Professor Drake represented individual and corporate clients in jury trials, bench trials and appellate proceedings in both federal and state court.

Professor Drake received her bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., in 1982 and her JD from the University of Minnesota in 1985.

At the School of Law, Professor Drake teaches Insurance Law, Pretrial Litigation and Trial Practice.

Eric HartEric Hart

Associate Clinical Professor
Department of Health Psychology
University of Missouri

Eric S. Hart, Psy.D., ABPP-CN, is a licensed psychologist. He is an associate clinical professor in the Department of Health Psychology at the University of Missouri. He also serves as the director of adult neuropsychology for MU and as the psychology director of clinical training at the Department of Health.

Dr. Hart is board certified in clinical neuropsychology by the American Board of Professional Psychology. He received his bachelor of science degree in 1999 from Illinois State University and his master of arts degree in clinical psychology from Eastern Illinois University in 2001.

Thomas Haynes, ’14

Attorney, Shands & Haynes LLC

Thomas Haynes, ’14Hardin “Tom” Haynes, ’14, is originally from the St. Louis area. He practices law in Columbia and Jefferson City as a partner with Shands & Haynes, focusing on several substantive areas including veterans benefits, business litigation, personal injury and general litigation. He has also written and helped present CLEs discussing social media in employment. He is a former intern at Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, and has also worked for the Labor and Industrial Relations Commission.

Mr. Haynes graduated from the School of Law in 2014, where he was a member of Phi Delta Phi. As a guest at last year’s Veterans Clinic Symposium, he inspired the organizers to provide hands on training about veterans benefits law to Missouri attorneys. His idea evolved into this year’s three-credit-hour CLE that follows the symposium.

Mr. Haynes graduated with a degree in business administration and project management from Baker College in Michigan in 2010. He lives in Columbia with his fiancé Lily, their sons (ages 14, 9 and 8) and a platoon of pets.

Chuck Henson

Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and
Trial Practice Professor of Law
University of Missouri School of Law

Chuck HensonDean Chuck Henson serves as the School of Law’s associate dean for academic affairs and trial practice professor of law. He is an experienced trial lawyer with primary emphasis on employment litigation and commercial law matters. He worked in the Missouri Attorney General’s Office immediately prior to beginning teaching full-time at the law school.

Dean Henson’s career experience includes partnership at Kutak Rock LLP in Denver and as vice-president law (human resources) at Adelphia Communications, where he was responsible for providing legal guidance and management of human resources issues, projects and litigation for a corporation with 15,000 employees in 23 states.

Dean Henson received his JD from the Georgetown University Law Center and his BA from Yale in economics and political science.

In the past, Dean Henson has taught Client Interviewing and Counseling, Lawyering, Employment Discrimination, Professional Responsibility, Pretrial Litigation, Trial Practice and Advanced Trial Practice.

Shawn Lee, ’15

Veteran, 101st Airborne
Attorney, Fox Stretz & Quinn

Shawn LeeShawn Lee, ’15, is from Jefferson City, Mo. He enlisted in the U.S. Army as an infantryman in 2004. He served with the 10th Mountain Division in Baghdad, Iraq as a scout/sniper in 2008 and with the 101st Airborne Division in Kunar Province, Afghanistan, as a squad leader in 2010. While in Afghanistan, his vehicle drove over a buried improvised explosive device (IED) in 2010 while he was taking point on a patrol to meet with a local village elder. Five months later, he was screened for a traumatic brain injury. A CT scan subsequently found over 20 lesions on his brain and damage to his left inner ear drum. Mr. Lee received a Purple Heart for these wounds.

In 2012, Mr. Lee completed his bachelor of science degree in business administration and in 2014 he graduated from the University of Missouri School of Law. He was instrumental in the formation of the law school’s Veterans Clinic, and served as one of the clinic’s first student.

Mr. Lee now works at Fox Stretz & Quinn in Kansas City and maintains a solo practice that works exclusively with veterans and their families.

David Myers

Director of Case Evaluation and Placement
Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program

David MyersDavid H. Myers, Esq., is the director of case evaluation and placement component of the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program.

During his career, Cmdr. Myers served as the director, Special Programs Division (OJAG); deputy director, Appellate Government Division, Navy-Marine Appellate Review Activity; deputy director, Criminal Law Division (OJAG); senior trial counsel, Naval Legal Service Office, Naples, Italy, during the first Gulf War; military judge, Navy-Marine Corps Trial Judiciary, Atlantic Circuit; and assistant staff judge advocate, Bureau of Naval Personnel. He earned several personal decorations, including four Meritorious Service Medals. His enlisted service included a deployment to Southeast Asia on the USS Ranger (CVA-61) in 1973-74.

Cmdr. Myers is a 1972 graduate of Mac Murray College in Jacksonville, Ill., and a 1978 graduate of Valparaiso University School of Law in Valparaiso, Ind. In 1987 he earned a master of laws degree from The Army’s Judge Advocate General’s School in Charlottesville, Va.

Dr. Susan Okie

Former Medical Reporter and
National Science Editor
The Washington Post

Dr. Susan OkieSusan Okie, M.D., is a family practice physician who has spent most of her career as a medical journalist, author and editor. She graduated from Harvard Medical School and completed a family medicine residency at the University of Massachusetts and the University of Connecticut. Hired as a summer intern by The Washington Post during medical school, Dr. Okie returned to the paper as a reporter on the metropolitan staff under Bob Woodward. She spent almost 20 years with the newspaper, including serving as its national science editor and filing science and environmental stories from Africa during the three years she lived in Kenya with her family. Dr. Okie’s husband, a medical school classmate, is a retired research scientist who worked on the development of malaria vaccines. They have two grown sons.

Dr. Okie was a contributing editor at the New England Journal of Medicine, and has published numerous commentaries to the journal’s “Perspectives” section. Two of her articles, ” Reconstructing Lives — A Tale of Two Soldiers,” and ” Traumatic Brain Injury in the War Zone,” deal with traumatic brain injury in the war zone specifically.

Dr. Okie has published two books — Fed Up! about the childhood obesity epidemic and To Space and Back, a children’s book that she co-wrote with the late astronaut Sally Ride. She is also a published poet, and in 2014 received an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College.

Dr. Okie volunteers weekly as a primary care doctor with Mobile Medical Care of Montgomery County, a nonprofit organization providing health care for uninsured adults. She is an assistant clinical professor of family medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine, teaching patient-interviewing and clinical ethics to first-year and second-year medical students.

Amy Odom

National Litigation Director
National Veterans Legal Services Program

Amy OdomAmy F. Odom is the director of litigation for the National Veterans Legal Services Program. In this role, she represents veterans and survivors before the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and other federal courts. She also trains, develops and supervises other NVLSP staff attorneys and pro bono attorneys. With respect to pro bono attorneys, her supervision is provided through NVLSP’s Lawyers Serving Warriors® program, as well as the Veterans Consortium Pro Bono Program.

Ms. Odom has served as the treasurer of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims Bar Association and as vice chair of the American Bar Association’s Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice Veterans Affairs Committee. She has spoken on matters related to veterans disability benefits on several occasions, including as a panelist with expertise in disability ratings for orthopedic conditions during the Twelfth Judicial Conference of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, and as an expert on VA benefits for disabilities caused by military sexual trauma during the University of Missouri’s School of Law Veterans Clinic Symposium in 2014. Her publications include contributions to the 2011 and 2012 editions of the veterans affairs chapter of the American Bar Association’s Developments in Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice, as well as to several editions of NVLSP’s Veterans Benefits Manual.

Ms. Odom is a graduate of the University of Florida Levin College of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2006), where she competed on the school’s moot court team and served as a public interest fellow with the Center for Government Responsibility. Ms. Odom also earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Florida (B.A., Political Science, cum laude, 2003).

Alex Pracht

Retired U.S. Army, OEF (2008-2009)
Client, University of Missouri School of Law
Veterans Clinic

Alex PrachtAlex Pracht grew up in Centralia, Ill., where he played football and baseball, and was a wrestler. He was also a writer for the school newspaper. He graduated from Centralia High School in 2000 and joined the Illinois National Guard. He served from 2001 to 2004 as a cannon fire direction specialist, then as a military policeman from 2004 to 2006. He then served as a combat medic/infantryman until 2008, when he became an infantry scout team leader in Operation Enduring Freedom until 2009. He was medically retired from the U.S. Army in 2011 as a staff sergeant.

Staff Sgt. Pracht’s military decorations include three Bronze Star Medals, including one for valor; the Purple Heart, with a second awaiting approval; two Joint Services Commendation Medals, four Army Commendation Medals, two Joint Services Achievement Medals; five Army Achievement Medals; four Army Good Conduct Medals; four Army Reserve Components Achievement Medals; the National Defense Medal; the Afghanistan Campaign Medal with one Campaign Star; the Iraq Campaign Medal with two Campaign Stars; the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; the Humanitarian Service Medal; the Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal; the Armed Forces Reserve Medal with Bronze Hourglass; “M” Device and Numeral 3, the Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral 2; the Army Service Ribbon; the Army Overseas Service Ribbon with Numeral 2; the Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon; the NATO – ISAF Medal with one Campaign Star; two Illinois Army National Guard Longevity Medals; the Illinois Army National Guard Recruiting Ribbon; six Illinois Army National Guard Service Ribbons; and the following military badges: Combat Infantryman Badge, Combat Action Badge, Combat Medical Badge, Ranger Tab, Basic Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Pathfinder Badge, Expert Field Medic Badge, Basic Army Recruiter Badge, Driver and Mechanic Badge with Driver-Wheeled Vehicle Clasp, and the Expert Badge with Rifle and Pistol Clasps.

Staff Sgt. Pracht Alex has a four year old daughter and enjoys reading, throwing darts and golfing. He is interested in medicine, astronomy and criminology. He is dedicated to helping fellow veterans.

Michael Sam

Football Analyst, KOMU-TV
Defensive Lineman, University of Missouri
Football, 2009-2013
7th Round Selection, 2014 NFL Draft

Michael SamMichael Sam graduated from Hitchcock High School in Texas and was recruited to play football at Mizzou. He became the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and Mizzou’s 33rd All-American.

Mr. Sam was the first openly gay NFL draft pick. He was the 7th round draft pick by the

St. Louis Rams in 2014 and later played for the Dallas Cowboys and the Montreal Alouettes. He currently provides sports commentary for KOMU in Columbia, Mo.

Mr. Sam received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2014 ESPY Awards and GQ named him “Man of the Year” in 2014. He was on the cover of Sports Illustrated in February 2014 and nominated to be Sportsman of the Year by the magazine in November 2014.

Rex Sharp

Associate Athletic Director for Sports Medicine
University of Missouri Department of Athletics

Rex SharpRex Sharp, a native of New Albany, IN, became Mizzou’s head athletic trainer in 1996. He directs the operation of the Dr. Glenn L. McElroy M.D. Sports Medicine Center, Mizzou’s primary treatment and rehabilitation facility, and administers the comprehensive athletic health care program for Mizzou Athletics. Sharp oversees a staff of eight assistant athletic trainers, six certified graduate assistant athletic trainers, three certified athletic training interns and approximately 50 undergraduate student athletic training interns. He also teaches as an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at Mizzou.

Mr. Sharp served an eight-year tenure as one of 10 collegiate athletic trainers in the nation on the prestigious College and University Athletic Trainers’ Committee, was chairman of the Big 12 Conference Medical Aspects of Sport Committee and was inducted into the Ball State University Athletic Training Hall of Fame.

Mr. Sharp is a 1979 magna cum laude graduate of Ball State. He earned a master of science degree in biology (exercise physiology) from Michigan Technological University in Houghton, Mich., in 1983.

Amelia Tapp

Decision Review Officer
St. Louis VA Regional Office

Amelia TappAmelia Tapp began her dedication to veterans during her childhood as a volunteer with the non-profit Disabled American Veterans (DAV), following a strong family tradition of service.  Her lifetime of volunteerism led to a job with DAV, which, after one year, led to a career with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  Ms. Tapp has worked her way through the ranks of the Chicago and St. Louis VA regional offices as a public contact representative, veterans service representative, rating veterans service representative and decision review officer.  She is a subject matter expert in VA compensation and pension, and has specialized in cases involving military sexual trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, neurological disabilities, seriously injured/very seriously injured veterans and former prisoners of war.  When not chasing after her two-year-old nephew at her home in Illinois, Ms. Tapp can be found on her family’s farm outside of Hermann, Mo.

Justin Trueblood

Justin Trueblood

Third-Year Student at the University of Missouri
School of Law and President of the Mizzou Law
Sports Society

Justin Trueblood is a third-year law student from St. Louis, Mo. His interests include sports and entertainment law, tribal law and employment law. He is currently the president of the School of Law’s Sports Law Society and Native American Law Student Organization.




Marvin Washington

Retired NFL Player
Member of the 1998 Denver Broncos Super
Bowl Team

Marvin WashingonMarvin Washington is a Dallas native and a retired NFL player. He played 11 years with three teams: the New York Jets, the Denver Broncos and the San Francisco 49ers. He was a member of the Denver Broncos 1998 Super Bowl-winning team. Sports Illustrated recognized him as the 36th best New York Jets player of all time.

Mr. Washington is a graduate of Idaho University. In 2004, he was inducted into the University of Idaho Vandal Sports Hall of Fame.

Mr. Washington is involved with several charities and sits on the board of Texas Can Charter School. He currently works for William Small Wealth Management Group as a financial advisor, primarily serving a select number of professional athletes in the NFL and NBA.

Mr. Washington has three children, ages 22, 20 and 16. His son Evan follows his father’s football footsteps by playing at LSU.