Just weeks after former Portland State University linebacker Zach Walen filed a lawsuit against Portland State University, OHSU hospital and the NCAA for the handling of the concussion he suffered while playing, another football player suffers a concussion and remains in the game. Michigan Quarterback Shane Morris suffered a helmet to chin hit yet, despite obviously being dazed and even requiring the help of other teammates to stand (see video here), no one pulled him from the game for a concussion evaluation.
The September 27th game between Michigan and Minnesota once again brings into question the safety of the players and the responsibility of the coaches and athletic trainers. Michigan Quarterback Shane Morris took a helmet to chin hit during the game, which left him stumbling and leaning on other players to stand, yet no one stepped in. Instead of being taken out and evaluated for what appeared to be an obvious concussion, Coach Brady Hoke and athletic trainers on the sideline left Morris in the game.
This recent injury, as well as the lawsuit filed by Walen and the multiple lawsuits by former players in the NFL raises the question, ‘Who is responsible for pulling players with a possible concussion out of a game?’ When asked during a press conference, CBS Sports quotes Coach Hoke as saying, “Shane’s a pretty competitive, tough kid and Shane wanted to be the quarterback and so believe me, if he didn’t want to be he would’ve come to the sideline or stayed down.” Unfortunately, this mindset leaves many players continuing to play with traumatic brain injuries, but the decision should never be left to them.
Players are competitive and do want to stay in the game but, unfortunately, players suffering from a concussion are not in the right mind to make that decision. A concussion is a traumatic brain injury and, if a player has a suspected concussion, they should be removed from the game until medically cleared. If a player with a concussion takes another hit to the head, massive swelling of the brain can occur, leading to death. This occurred in 2011 when Frostburg State University player Derek Sheely died after taking multiple hits to the head. While the NCAA has made efforts to change guidelines and improve player safety when it comes to concussions, the incident with Morris and the fact he was allowed to continue to play without being medically checked, shows there is much room for improvement.
When it comes to pulling players out of a game, who do you think should be responsible? Will continued lawsuits finally prompt changes or will it take another serious injury first?