Brain Injury Series Part 9: New High School Football Practice Limits in Florida

Contrary to what you might think, 60% to 75% of sports- related brain injuries to high school football players occur in practice, not in games.  In the NFL, that number is 3%.  In light of these troubling statistics, the Florida High School Athletic Association (“FHSAA”) has promulgated new practice limitations. Taking effect on August 1, 2016 aimed at reducing the risk of concussions.  The new mandatory guidelines will limit the amount of time high school football players can spend in live contact during practice.

Reducing Sports Related Brain Injuries

Before the start of the regular season, live contact can’t go over 40 minutes per practice and only on two straight days. Once the season starts the time allowed goes down to 30 minutes per practice, 80 minutes total in any particular week, and no more than 3 days during that week. According to the FHSAA’s Kyle Niblett, similar limits in Wisconsin reduced the number of concussions there by half.  The new rule is one more step in the ongoing effort to reduce the risk of sports-related brain injury.  “The game of football will always come with some inherent risk, but we will never stop working to try and make one of the greatest team sports on earth safer,” FHSAA Football Administrator Frank Beasley said.

New Practice Rules

The new rules were developed by the FHSAA with the help of Practice Like Pros founder Terry O’Neil. O’ Neil has been working with numerous high school associations nationally to change high school football and improve player safety.  Practice Like Pros is Connecticut-based, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was born on Super Bowl Weekend, 2013. Soon after the suicides of former NFL players Dave Duerson and Junior Seau.  Its mission revolves around five core objectives:

  1. Convert youth leagues to flag football. No contact football earlier than 9th grade.
  2. No full-contact practice in spring/summer/off-season, 3 hours full-contact including scrimmage(s) in pre-season, 30 minutes per week in-season.
  3. Players must self-diagnose and report concussion symptoms because: The Second Impact Can Kill You.
  4. Full-time athletic trainer or comparable medical professional on every team. EMS on site at every game.
  5. Scientific study of catastrophic injury and brain tissue bank maintained at a national research center.

Brain Injury Attorneys

The attorneys at Heintz & Becker support these efforts to increase the safety of our high school football players.  We invite you to seek the advice of our experienced team of injury attorneys if you or someone you love for has suffered a sports-related brain injury or other serious physical injury.  Most importantly, we urge everyone involved to play by the rules, make safety their number one priority and report rule violations to the appropriate authorities.  If you suspect someone may have suffered a concussion, take action and seek immediate medical attention from a concussion specialist.

Source(s): First Coast News, “New safety procedures for Florida high school football players”, posted June 10, 2016; Space Coast Daily, “Florida High School Athletic Association Limiting Contact During Football Practice This Season”, posted June 9, 2016; WUFT, “Florida High Schools Must Report Number Of Concussions Next Year”, posted June 14, 2016; Practice Like Pros

Related Posts: Heintz & Becker Brain Injury Series Part 7: The NFL Concussion Protocol is Subject of Post-Season Review, Heintz & Becker Brain Injury Series Part 6: Second Impact Syndrome – a Rare Catastrophic Consequence of Multiple Concussions in Youth Athletes, Painkillers and Children – Concerns about What the FDA is Doing are Increasing

Stand Together, Don’t Divide #WeAreOrlando

By now, the entire world is aware of the mass shooting that took place in the early hours Sunday morning.  Omar Saddiqui Mateen entered Pulse, a nightclub in Orlando, Florida and opened fire on hundreds of innocent and unsuspecting patrons around 2 A.M. Allegedly equipped with an AR-15 and a handgun, Mateen was able to take the lives of 49 people and leave over 50 wounded. Before he was killed in a fire fight with SWAT, Mateen in a call to 911 reportedly pledged his allegiance to the Islamic State. Despite being born a U.S. citizen, it has also been reported that Mateen had been on the FBI radar. Subsequently, the response from citizens and community groups has been overwhelming and #WeAreOrlando is drawing considerable attention to this tragedy.


Preventable Tragedy?

This is the largest mass shooting in United States history excluding any military events. Many people have questions and concerns they want addressed by law enforcement as well as government officials. The internet has exploded with varying opinions on where we should stand with respect to gun control and immigration laws. However, in the immediate wake of such a tragic event, we should instead choose this time to refrain from arguing behind a keyboard and do what we can to help those affected. It is truly a time for the nation as a whole to come together and help those in need.

What Can I Do?

The outpouring of people eager to donate blood Sunday morning was a perfect example of how we can respond to tragic events. In Manatee County the blood banks are only accepting donation appointments as the response has been so great. The BloodMobile will be at Riverwalk today, however there may no longer be appointments available. You can go to and schedule an appointment at a location near you. The attorneys and staff at Heintz & Becker will be donating blood throughout the day on Friday June 17 at a local BloodMobile event in a show of solidarity with #WeAreOrlando.

Those not able to donate blood can help by making a donation to the GoFundMe page setup by Equality Florida. You can also support other groups known to be helping the victims and families. Please donate what you can; every dollar helps. Show your compassion and empathy to those affected by being an emotional support for them. So rather than being divisive, we want to stress the significance of standing together to help your fellow citizens. Gun control, immigration laws, and sexual orientation should be irrelevant when there are people in need of help. Donate what you can, give blood, or just be there for your fellow man. Today we all have a chance to be the difference in the world.

Respectfully submitted by Tanner Heintz


Sarasota’s Specialized Plumbing Technologies Spreads Waves of Love

As part of a mission trip organized by the non-profit organization Waves of Love, Sarasota-based Specialized Plumbing Technologies (formerly Sleuth Plumbing Technologies) recently assembled a group of volunteers that spent four weeks in a small Nicaraguan village to help build five brick homes from the ground up, an outdoor kitchen, two outhouses and install a water filtration system providing clean water for the village residents.  One of the volunteers was our very own, Tanner Heintz, son of Steve Heintz.

The mission was made possible through the combined efforts and contributions of Specialized Plumbing Technologies, its parent corporation Aquam Corp., and Waves of Love.  Specialized Plumbing Technologies, which uses underground video inspections to fix sanitary drainage problems and has about 70 employees statewide, has a culture of giving back.  In addition to volunteering locally, its employees have volunteered in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Mexico and Nicaragua.  Aquam Corp., a global water infrastructure firm with a U.S. headquarters in San Diego, who acquired Specialized Plumbing Technologies last year, provided funding for the project.  Waves of Love was founded by Michael and Paula Lindsey and is located in Sarasota.  Its mission is to ensure everyone has life’s basic needs: food, water, shelter, clothing, and education.  For more information on Waves of Love, see the video below:

It’s great to see local organizations working to make positive changes in both our local community and around the world.  The attorneys at Heintz & Becker are happy to be able to use their website and Facebook page to share this story with its readers.  We hope it will inspire others to join in and help make a difference for people in need.

Source(s): The Bradenton Times, “Sarasota Company is Creating Positive Change in Nicaragua”, posted May 21, 2016; Plumber Magazine, “Florida Plumbers Embark on Mission to Nicaragua”, posted May 23, 2016; Business Observer, “Homes that really matter”, posted June 3, 2016

Urgent Warning: Exploding E-Cigarette Batteries Resulting in Serious Injuries

Exploding E-Cigarette Batteries

Some e-cigarette batteries are exploding without warning and causing blindness, serious burns and permanent injuries.  A teenager in New York was blinded in one eye and may have permanent damage to his hands. An  e-cigarette he was testing at a mall kiosk in Brooklyn exploded.  In Florida, a 21 year old man almost died Exploding E-Cigaretteafter his e-cigarette exploded in his face. This left the man with third degree burns to his entire face, serious burns to his esophagus and battery acid in his lungs. Another man from Longboat Key was hospitalized with serious burns and required skin grafts after his e-cigarette exploded in the pocket of his shorts.  These are just a few examples of the growing number of exploding e-cigarette tragedies which have prompted numerous lawsuits and calls for mandatory consumer warnings and regulation of the e-cigarette industry.

Exploding E-Cigarette Cause

What is it that’s causing these explosions?  It’s the small rechargeable lithium ion batteries that power the devices.  These batteries contain highly flammable electrolytes that can ignite with explosive force if overheated, overcharged or misused.  Carrying e-cigarettes and/or spare batteries in your pocket with car keys or other items can also lead to battery damage and explosions.  There are also a lot of shoddy “no name brand” batteries and chargers on the market that may be more likely to explode than their more expensive brand-name counterparts.

Injured by Exploding E-Cigarette?

Since there are very few laws currently applicable to e-cigarettes in the U.S., e-cigarettes are not subjected to mandatory safety testing and regulation.  Consumer advocates are hoping that this will change, but even with mandatory testing and regulation, as long as lithium ion batteries continue to be used to power the devices, there will be a risk of fire and injury.  In addition to wanting to get to get the word out about the dangers of e-cigarettes, the attorneys at Heintz & Becker have made it a priority to hold e-cigarette sellers and manufacturers responsible for the injuries and damages they have caused.  If you or a member of your family has been injured by an e-cigarette battery, dispenser, or e-liquid, call us for a no-obligation consultation and evaluation of you case.

Source(s): FOX 13 News, “Longboat Key man has grafts after e-cig battery burns”, posted May 10, 2016; FOX 13 News, “Video shows e-cigarette explode in man’s pants”, posted February 25, 2016;, “14-year-old boy left blinded after e-cigarette explodes at Brooklyn mall”, posted April 15, 2016;, “Florida man placed in a coma after e-cigarette explosion”, posted October 28, 2015; Naples Daily News, “Exploding e-cigarette sparks lawsuit”, posted January 27, 2016; CBS Chicago, “2 investigators: Smokers Get Burned From Exploding E-Cigarettes”, posted February 16, 2016; HowStuffWorks, “How Lithium-ion Batteries Work”; Wired, “Why Hoverboards Keep Exploding”, posted December 12, 2015

Related Posts: Urgent Health Warning: Keep E-Cigarettes and Poisonous Liquid Nicotine Away From Children, News about Electronic Cigarettes and Minors, Health Alert: Warnings Issued for Contaminated Tattoo Ink

CRPS/RSD PART 22: News Probe Reveals Pharmacies Refusing to Fill Prescriptions for Pain Medication

People suffering from chronic pain with valid prescriptions issued by reputable physicians are being turned away by pharmacies that are refusing to fill their pain medication prescriptions.  Why is this happening and who is responsible?  An in-depth probe aptly named “State of Pain” by Orlando television WESH 2 has reportedly gathered thousands of stories of prescription medication denials, where real people describe themselves as being left in pain and feeling judged,  humiliated, betrayed, appalled and “MAD AS HELL”.  The WESH 2 probe has shed light on the magnitude of the problem and has received the attention of the Florida Board of Pharmacy – the state agency responsible for regulating Florida’s pharmacists.

An atmosphere of finger pointing has dominated discussions of the prescription refusal issue.  The governor, the attorney general and pharmacists statewide have attempted to place the blame for the problem on Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”) regulations and pain medication quotas that have created pill shortages.  An additional complication, previously highlighted in our Heintz & Becker Blogs, which added tighter controls on certain pain medications, is the DEA’s reclassification of Hydrocodone Combination Products (“HCPs”) from Schedule III Drugs to Schedule II Drugs in 2014.  However, the DEA has refused to accept the blame and says that pharmacists who refuse to fill real prescriptions are not doing their jobs and that problems concerning the actions of individual pharmacists are the responsibility of the state’s board of pharmacy to manage.  Indeed, Florida’s Board of Pharmacy and itsControlled Substances Standards Committee may be taking action.  Five members of the Board of Pharmacy will meet in Orlando on June 9, 2015 to look at the issue from the perspective of patients, doctors, pharmacists and suppliers.  The agenda and meeting materials, which include numerous emails containing personal patient testimonials, including the one quoted above, are available in the“Public Book” posted online.

Heintz & Becker is posting this information to further publicize the existence of this problem and to give credit to WESH 2 Orlando for its valuable investigation.  We will continue to publish news on this and other topics of interest to people who suffer from chronic pain and invite you to check our website regularly for updated information.  If you or a member of your family suffers from chronic pain due to an accident caused by the negligence of someone else, please contact one of our attorneys for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your claim for financial compensation.

Source(s): WESH 2 Orlando, “WESH 2 gets answers on state’s prescription problems”, posted May 19, 2015; WESH 2 Orlando, “DEA, FDA discuss prescription problems at U.S. Senate hearing”, posted May 7, 2015; WESH 2 Orlando, “DEA questioned on prescription problems at Senate hearing”, posted May 6, 2015

Heintz & Becker Boating Safety Series Part 2: Nighttime and Pre-Dawn Boating

Last month one Florida teen was killed and five others were injured when their small boat ran into a bridge on the Middle River near Ft. Lauderdale.  The accident happened around midnight and it was immediately obvious that darkness was the likely cause.  The teens were all experienced boaters who were very familiar with the area, but “it was just dark, you know” said one of their friends.  “It’s tough.”  Sadly, this tragedy probably would never have happened if the teens had not been on the water at night.

Boating Safety Tips

Clearly, the best advice for boaters is to always wait until dawn to go out on the water and to try to return to shore before it gets too dark to see.  We all know that is not always possible, so if you will be out on the water before dawn or at night, please be extra cautious and observe the following safety tips:

  • Don’t boat at night unless you know how to read red, green and white navigation lights.  If you see only a red light that means the other captain has the right of way.  Seeing both a red and green light together means your boat is heading directly toward the other boat and you should alter course.  Seeing a white light indicates that the other boat is moving away from you.
  • Take it slow and easy as everything will be hard to see and you may not be able see what is coming at you until you are nearly on top of it.
  • Stay focused and avoid distraction.  Keep your eyes above the windshield and listen for other boats and beacons.
  • Use high beams with care.  The last thing you want to do is blind other boaters or make it hard for them to see your navigation lights.
  • Know how to use a compass and GPS devices and use them to keep track of your location and direction.
  • Know how to call for help if you need it.  We’ll be covering this topic in detail in one of our upcoming posts and hope you will make sure to come back to our site for this very important information.

Bradenton Boating Attorneys

Heintz & Becker is posting this information to remind everyone of the extra degree of caution required when boating in nighttime or pre-dawn conditions.  If you or a loved one has been injured in a boating accident caused by someone else, the experienced accident attorneys at Heintz & Becker are available to consult with you about your case and rights to seek financial compensation.  We urge you to contact us for a free analysis of your claim.

Source(s): The Christian Science Monitor, “Florida teen killed in boat crash: How to lessen risks of late-night boating”, posted August 13, 2015

Volkswagen’s Shameless Deception Destroys Owners’ Trust and Loyalty

What was once the iconic and beloved Volkswagen has now fallen from grace after the recent revelation that the company intentionally manipulated its “environmentally friendly” diesel cars. These cars cheated on emissions tests and secretly spew up to 40 times the level of pollutants allowed by current regulations into the environment, thus resulting in massive Volkswagen recalls.

VolkswagenEven though Volkswagen has admitted wrongdoing and has issued an apologetic message to its customers, the fallout continues to grow.  Volkswagen’s top officials are resigning, a criminal probe by the U.S. Justice Department is pending, and betrayed consumers are demanding justice.  “I want nothing to do with the brand,” said the owner of a 2012 Volkswagen Golf TDI.  Another owner of a 2013 Volkswagen Jetta SportsWagen TDI commented that the car’s appeal is now “ruined” and wants VW to buy the car back.

Volkswagen Recall

Here is a list of the cars known to be affected by the emission cheating scandal, however, investigations are continuing and this list could grow:

Year Make Model
2009-2015 Volkswagen Jetta
2009-2014 Volkswagen Jetta SportsWagen TDI
2012-2015 Volkswagen Beetle
2012-2015 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
2010-2015 Audi A3
2010-2015 Volkswagen Golf
2015 Volkswagen GolfSportsWagen TDI
2012-2015 Volkswagen Passat


Bradenton Attorneys

The scandal is expected to result in massive costs to Volkswagen, both financially and in customer losses, and angry consumers are already lining up to sue the company for compensation.  The attorneys at Heintz & Becker are standing ready to help Volkswagen owners.  If you or a member of your family is the owner of one of the cars affected and you are wondering what to do, we urge you to contact Heintz & Becker for free, no-obligation information about your legal rights.

Source(s): Green Car Reports, “VW Diesel Drivers Hurt, Confused, Angry, Remorseful”, posted September 28, 2015; The Dallas Morning News, “Sell, sue or stay put: considerations for Volkswagen Owners”, posted September 27, 2015

Red Light Runner Causes Crash on U.S. 301 that leaves 87 Year Old Parrish Woman with Serious Injuries

By Steve Heintz of Heintz & Becker posted in Car Accidents on Monday, October 19, 2015.

Virginia Boria, 87, of Parrish was seriously injured on Saturday, October 17, 2015, after the driver of the car she was a passenger in ran a red light at the intersection of U.S. 301 and 60th Avenue East in Manatee County.  Diane Salmonsen, 57, of Parrish was headed west with Boria on U.S. 301 in a 2011 Toyota Rav4 when she ran a red light and crashed into a 2006 Honda Pilot driven by Clifford Temps, 77, of Bradenton.

This accident serves as one of the latest examples of a person being seriously injured or killed as the result of the actions of a red light runner.  Here is a list of things you may not realize about this serious issue:

  1. There are an average of 7 fatal crashes and over 1,000 injury crashes at signalized intersections across the U.S. on any given day.
  2. A person has a higher chance of being injured in a red-light running crash than any other type of crash.
  3. Red light running is the most common cause of all urban crashes.
  4. Someone runs a red light an average of every 20 minutes at urban intersections.
  5. Red light runners injure an estimated 165,000 motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians each year in the U.S.

Red light running accidents are preventable and you can be part of the solution.  Heintz & Becker asks everyone to exercise due care when driving and to not take chances at intersections.  Slowing down, instead of speeding up at yellow lights is one of the best ways to prevent accidents and injuries.  As to the drivers who continue to take chances by running red lights, Heintz & Becker stands ready to hold them accountable for the consequences of their actions.  If you or a member of your family is the victim of a red light runner, call the attorneys at Heintz & Becker – we want to hear from you.

Source(s): Herald-Tribune, “3 injured in accident on U.S. 301”, posted October 18, 2015; Federal Highway Administration, “Red-Light Running”

Heintz & Becker Golf Cart Series Part 6: “GolfBoards” Bring Excitement and New Safety Issues to Golfers

A revolution is underway at the Legacy Golf Club in Lakewood Ranch that lets golfers “surf the turf.” It’s called ‘GolfBoarding” and it’s the latest golfing craze thanks to the invention of the “GolfBoard” by Don Wildman, who created Bally Total Fitness, and Laird Hamilton, a well-known professional surfer. For those invested in the golf industry, the hope is that the trendy machine that resembles a giant skateboard on wheels will attract more young players and revitalize excitement in the game.

The GolfBoard was named new golf product of the year in 2014 and is taking the greens by storm. “It is a blast. I’m telling you”, says Legacy Golf Club General Manager Kevin Paschall. “We’ve had people from 16 to 85 already trying it out.” GolfBoards have a stability bar with a switch, and a high-tech suspension system for a smooth ride. Turning is accomplished by shifting your body to the direction you want to go – much like skateboarding and snowboarding. Obviously, these new machines do not come without safety concerns. So, how do you learn how to safely operate a GolfBoard and reduce your chances of getting hurt? Before you can set out on your GolfBoarding adventure at the Legacy Golf Club you must complete a training session and sign a waiver which says the Club is not responsible for any accidents or injuries. There’s also an informative safety video available for first time users:

In addition to keeping our readers informed about safety issues, Heintz & Becker is always looking for new developments to share information about. The GolfBoard is the most exciting development to come to golfing in years and we are excited that our local Legacy Golf Club is taking the lead in making GolfBoards available to its players. Whether you are adventurous enough to try GolfBoarding or prefer the traditional comfort of a golf cart, the attorneys at Heintz & Becker remind you to make safety a priority at all times.

Source(s): KGNS-TV, “Golfboards introduce a new way to play the game”, posted March 29, 2016;, “Invention Of The Week? Golfboard: Surf And Swing”, posted August, 2015

Heintz & Becker Boating Safety Series Part 8: New Law Signed after Heartbreaking loss of two Florida Teens

Last July, two Florida teenagers, Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos, set out for a day of boating from the Jupiter Inlet and were never heard from again. Days of searching and hoping turned up nothing. What happened to the teens and their 19-foot, single-engine boat remains a mystery. Only one thing is known for certain – searchers would have had a better chance of finding the boys if their boat had been equipped with an emergency indicator radio beacon (EPIRB) that could have signaled their location.

In response to the tragedy, Florida lawmakers looked for a way to provide an extra incentive to encourage boat operators to equip their vessels with EPIRB’s and other safety features. The resulting legislation is HB 427, which, beginning on July 1, 2016, gives boat owners a reduction in their registration fees if their vessel is equipped with an EPIRB and other features. Upon signing the new law, Florida Governor Rick Scott said, “I continue to offer my deepest condolences to the families of the teenagers who lost their lives after sailing from the Jupiter Inlet. It is heartbreaking to consider the grief of a family losing a child. I hope these important safety measures we signed into law today will help ensure that this kind of tragedy never happens again.”

The attorneys at Heintz & Becker ask all boaters to act now and install an EPIRB on their vessel and make sure their lifejackets, first aid kits and all other safety gear is in order. We also want to remind everyone that whether the boat is yours or someone else’s – if the boat does not have proper safety equipment or if you have any safety concerns, STAY SAFE – DON’T GO. Don’t let your safety concerns slide. They’re just too important.

Source(s): Florida Sportsman Newswire, “Gov. Scott Signs Legislation for Boater Safety in Florida”, posted April 11, 2016; Orlando Sentinel, “Boater-safety bill becomes law”, posted April 13, 2016

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