‘A Gentleman And A Gunfighter’?

One hundred thirty years ago this month, notorious Wild West gunslinger Clay Allison, whose childhood brain injury probably explained his lifelong erratic and violent behavior, was killed in a wagon accident near his home in Pecos, Texas.

Mr. Allison was born around 1840 in Tennessee. Some years later, the Confederate Army discharged him for what doctors called a “partly epileptic and partly maniacal” condition, an almost certain reference to a brain injury. After the War of Northern Aggression, Mr. Allison moved west and either single-handedly or in cooperation with others killed several innocent people. He married in 1881, and though his violent rages ceased his bizarre behavior continued: he once rode naked through the streets of Mobeetie and, following a dispute with a dentist, pinned the hapless man to the ground and forcibly extracted one of his teeth with a pair of pliers.

After his death, Mr. Allison was buried in Pecos. His gravestone made the very tenuous claim that he was “a gentleman and a gunfighter who never killed a man that did not need killing.”

Traumatic Brain Injuries

TBIs were linked with violent and erratic behavior then, and these personality changes are still common today. Dr. Bennet Omalu, who is one of the leading Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy doctors in the world and was profiled in the Hollywood movie Concussion, said he “would bet [his] medical license” that O.J. Simpson has a brain injury. Families of victims are intimately familiar with the personality changes that these injuries bring about, as they watch effervescent children become wallflowers and friendly adults become chronically angry.

TBIs are permanent, because dead brain cells do not regenerate. But with aggressive treatment and therapy, brain injury symptoms can be diminished considerably. Absent such an approach, the symptoms become increasingly worse. Many victims eventually develop dementia-like symptoms and even die from TBIs.

Sports injuries receive a lot of attention in the media but account for relatively few diagnoses. Some of the more common TBI causes include:

  • Motor vehicle crashes,
  • Slip-and-falls,
  • Assaults, and
  • Sudden loud noises, like explosive blasts.

Damages in a TBI or other personal injury case typically include compensation for both economic losses, like medical bills, and noneconomic losses, like pain and suffering. Punitive damages are also available in some alcohol-involved TBI cases.

TBIs have devastating and permanent consequences for victims and loved ones. For a free consultation with an aggressive Lake Charles personal injury attorney, contact Hoffoss Devall. After hours appointments are available.