More Songs about Medicals, Buildings and Food

Submitted by Low Key Recidivist on July 2nd, 2015 at 6:22 PM
Eric_in_Dayton's post got me thinking a bit on the topic of the medical scholarship.  While I found his analysis interesting, I don't think an injury necessairly correlates to lost productivity in this day and age of advanced orthopedic medicine.  And while Bama has shown that there is occasionally a correlation between lack of productivity on the field and the 'career ending' severity of the injury/condition, I don't think it's particularly widespread outside of the SEC.  
 
Anyway, kudos to Eric for addressing it.  My interest focused less on the player production aspect, but rather what is the medical threshold for placing a player in the too high a risk to play again' category.  Interestingly, there was a situation in our own backyard in the early 2000s which is a bit ironic on several levels.
 
Jeff Zuttah was a highly ranked OG out of Princeton NJ, the Hun School who committed to UM in 2003. During physical screenings his freshman year, it was determined that he had a medical condition (which shall go nameless though it's out on the blogosphere) that put him at risk if he chose to continue playing football. The UM medical staff determined there was too much risk and never cleared him to play and he was offered a medical.  

He got a second opinion, decided to continue to play football and transferred to Stanford where ultimately he had an episode related to his condition and had to retire from football.  Fortunately, the story ends well; he recovered and eventually got his degree from Stanford in Economics.

The story does bring up some interesting points for consideration: 

- Stanford has/had a very good medical staff, so opinions on whether a kid can stll safely play can diffier even among highly qualified health professionals;

- There are players (college and NFL) who have successfully played with this condition; the same likely also applies to joint arthritis/damage, concussions etc; it's a matter of how much risk the team/player is willing to accept;

- Any protocol for determining fitness to continue playing would by nature be subjective, and medical ethics aside, could potentially be abused by programs;

- 18-21 year old kids aren't renowned for their ability to assess the long term implications of their decisions and actions.

So, my non double blind experiment observations on this are as follows:  If the team medical staff makes a recommendation that the player not suit up again, there's likely a 5 sigma probability the football staff will follow suit; the legal , image and liability implications are way too high.  If it's the football staff making the recommendation without official endorsement from the medical staff, there is muddy water.

 

Comments

ruthmahner

July 3rd, 2015 at 9:41 AM ^

It's got a good beat. Needs a little work on the chorus.

Seriously, you make a good point. It's probably a topic we're going to find ourselves discussing with some frequency.

Blue_sophie

July 7th, 2015 at 4:28 AM ^

Discussion about health issues is limited by legal disclosure requirements. There are good reasons for this imposed silence (not just HIPAA bureaucracy), but unfortunately these same laws also eliminate nuance in the discourse amongst fans, boosters, and other interested parties that play a fundamental role in college athletics. These are important (literally life-or-death) issues, but in the end, it is in an athlete's best interest that we (bloggers) never have all of the information about his/her health. 

Point being: we should keep talking about the issue of medical hardships, concussion protocols, etc., but we need to remember that we will always be operating in the abstract, since each individual case hangs on crucial, but unavoidable gaps in our knowledge. 

And regarding your diary title, David Byrn would surely appreciate your effort to discuss the unknowable.

caliblue

July 14th, 2015 at 8:55 AM ^

I definitely agree with our MDs . He should not have played college sports. He likely kept this from the staff when he was recruited. It is surprising he did not have trouble at the HS level but more surprisisng that Stanford of all colleges let him play. Definately good luck to him, especially for graduating fro, Stanford. What is HBS ?