This is an absolute blitz by Patrick Hruby on the blind eye that Mark Emmert and staff have turned towards the increasingly alarming concussion situation in NCAA athletics. Very interesting read.
OT: Patrick Hruby nukes Emmert and NCAA concussion policy
First, Mark Emmert does not set NCAA policy; as a matter of fact, he has no say at all over NCAA policy. He is the "face" of the organization only.
More importantly, there are many examples in this article of extreme negligence in regard to the health of their football players. But the author doesn't seem to realize exactly who is being negligent here: coaches, trainers, and the universities who employ them.
Of course there need to be rules protecting players, but the schools need to protect players even in the absence of rules mandating that protection. If a player for Enormous State University is forced to practice or play while suffering from the effects of a concussion, it strikes me as strange to say, "this proves that the NCAA isn't doing its job" rather than "this proves that the coaches/trainers at Enormous State University aren't doing their jobs."
Again, I do support stronger NCAA rules here, but let's not blame the NCAA for all of the awful things that schools do to their student-athletes, only the awful things that the NCAA actually requires them to do.
I think the concept the author was driving at was if the NCAA can decide which CONDIMENTS are allowed to be stocked on training tables, they sure as hell should be able to implement an overarching standard for concussions with strict penalties for a failure to comply.
I agree. It sounds like you do as well, judging by your last sentence. Both the schools and the NCAA have culpability here.
There's plenty of blame to go around. The NCAA deserves their share of it for not continuing the policy or some form of what they had all the way back in 1933:
the NCAA's 1933 Medical Handbook for Schools and Colleges says that concussions should be treated with rest and medical attention, that athletes suffering concussive symptoms should "not be permitted to compete for 21 days or longer, if at all" and that individuals who are repeatedly knocked unconscious should be "forbidden to play body-contact sport?"
God, just further proof of the wussification of football. It's not even the same sport I enjoyed back in my day in the late '20s. Next thing you know, they'll won't even allow eye gouging.
He himself does not set policy but he can certainly influence it. If he wanted to lead a charge to at least require trainers to perform spot testing for concussion symptoms and forbid same-day return-to-play for those exhibiting concussion symptoms, do you really think he's powerless to help push something through?
Of course there need to be rules protecting players, but the schools need to protect players even in the absence of rules mandating that protection.
You mean rules like not letting players who lay unconscious for over 30 seconds after a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit to renter the game with the gloss-over justification of having the wind knocked out of them?
and of course we are in the midst of a "concussion firestorm." We have had hours of concussion training in the last few years as we probably should. I have attempted to find research on concussions and have discovered two things of interest. Because concussions seem to occur way more often to our players today than they did when I played - either we are more aware now than we were back in the day or something else is involved.
Two things - one is that a Doctor on a sports talk show mentioned steroids shrink the brain and that pro athletes who took steroids over the last years should (in his opinion) be much more susceptible to concussions. Two, when we sweat from strenuous activity and do not hydrate properly our brain will shrink which will also make one more susceptible to concussions. Of course no full study has been done with regard to these two points but they are certainly interesting points.
I definitely believe Emmert deserves blame for the ongoing issues with concussion treatment, but it's also needlessly myopic to expect him to serve as a complete watchguard over their enforcement and not put a heavy onus on the schools to follow the established rules. I mean, some of the stories provided by Hruby point to universities not properly treating their athletes within the defined guidelines. We like to yell at the spokespeople because they are easy targets, but considering some DIII schools apparently don't have trainers on the payroll but expect student-athletes to pay tuition while playing for school-sponsored clubs, I'd want some focus placed on their malfeasance as well.
Overall, I agree that concussion treatment in college is sorely lacking, but I also am not going to wholly blame the NCAA for this wide-reaching issue.