OT - Dantonio 10/2 press conference - UPDATED with transcript.

Submitted by Section 1 on October 2nd, 2012 at 12:38 PM

**UPDATED 3:30 PM -- Transcript from MSUSpartans.com**

Here is the question put to Mark Dantonio today about Gholston:

Q. Lot of speculation when the hit Gholston took, he was knocked out briefly Saturday. To your knowledge, was he ever knocked out? What is the protocol if a player is knocked out in returning to the game?

COACH DANTONIO: The protocol first of all is he needs to be cleared. Players have been knocked woozy before. Once they're cleared, they pass their impact test, which is a base test that every one of our players takes prior to coming to camp, certain levels of knowledge, they have to be able to repass that. Once they pass that, they're cleared. I would assume that our trainers and our neurologist did that on the sideline, passed him and cleared him. Whether he was knocked out or whether he wasn't, I'm not sure because I wasn't out there. But I heard he was sort of stunned or something, maybe even had the wind knocked out of him even. I really wasn't sure on that. I just knew he got up, came off. I was on my way out there, then he got up. 




I don't think this will fly.  Players getting "knocked woozy," not knowing "whether he was knocked out or whether he wasn't," being "sort of stunned"; all of that will, I expect, be regarded by serious experts in head trauma as being classically ill-informed and inadequate injury prevention.  All of those things -- wooziness, possible loss of consciousness, being stunned -- are classic signs of a possible concussion that demands rest, and no sideline neurological test can override the presumption on the side of safety.

The hole that MSU's staff is in on this issue just got deeper.



Per Twitter from Matt Charbonneau and Joe Rexrode, Dantonio was asked about Gholston and Dantonio's response was that he was headed out to the field when Gholston got up and began to walk of the field.

Dantonio says he was told that Gholston was "stunned" or had lost his wind.  Both Charbonneau and Rexrode Tweeted "stunned."

There will be a transcript of the presser later today at the Spartan website.

I bring this up on the Board for the obvious reason that Brian's Unverified Voracity post of yesterday drew some heated discussion.  Personally, I would not have written it up the way that Brian did, emphasizing personal fault on the part of Dantonio.  My complete sympathies however lie with Brian's basic position which is that it seems to be an unexplainable outrage; to have seen Gholston apparently knocked out cold and then return to the game.  I am seeing blog posts and other internet postings from self-identified Spartans who were at the game, who can't explain it and who themselves think that Gholston had been out cold.

If in fact Gholston was knocked out, for 10 seconds or 45 seconds, and was unresponsive after a hit like that to his head, there is no sideline test that would clear him to play.  None.  At that point, it is a presumptive concussion.  The whole issue turns on whether Gholston was knocked out or not.  I don't know how anyone can watch the video and not think that Gholston was anything other than knocked out cold, for at least 30 seconds.  Hence Brian's rightful and righteous outrage.

The clever answer today would have been "No; Will was conscious the entire time.  Will says so and the the trainer and all of the guys around the pile say so..."  For Dantonio to say, today, that he was told that Gholston was "stunned," seems to deepen the story in a very bad way for the MSU staff.

Press conference transcript link to follow later when available.


Phil Brickma

October 2nd, 2012 at 12:58 PM ^

All Dantonio bashing aside, this just doesn't look good. Injuries are a quagmire on all levels of sports. Whether it's Lane Kiffin avoiding the media at all costs to keep injury reports in house, or the NHL's laughable lower-body/upper-body injury report, teams do everything they can to keep injuries a mystery.

Resuming Dantonio bashing: This goes beyond that. This appears to be a clear example of the coaching staff/medical staff ignoring concussion protocol. It brings up more questions. What is the NCAA policy for concussion testing? Particularly in-game testing? Would the Big Ten or NCAA be able to review this occurrence and hand out a possible punishment?

Going further, I don't think this will reflect poorly on Dantonio unless it gains major steam in big media outlets. If ESPN picks up the story and blows it out of the water, then maybe Dantonio will catch flak for it. Outside of bickering Michigan fans, I don't think MSU and the coaching staff is going to get a lot of heat for this.


October 2nd, 2012 at 1:00 PM ^

Why the confidence that these sideline tests are so unimpeachable?

We don't know anything about anything with regards to concussions. Why is anyone so sure that these tests would never fail to detect a concussion?

Personally, I suspect Gholston passed the tests or else he wouldn't have been back on the field. I just don't think passing the tests, in light of the possibility that he was knocked out, should be sufficient to get him back on the field.

But, the way the system appears to be now, a doc who does not know what happened on the field or is beholden to the player for that information can administer some tests and if the player passes he can inform the coaches that he is cleared to play.

I think the system is at fault and MSU's coaching tree for it's blind adherence to the letter of the regulations. Unfortunately, that is often how bureaucracies function.

This is exactly why it is important to question MSU about if Gholston lost consciousness. To me, someone who has had several concussions, 'stunned' sounds like one of the many euphamisms for a concussion.

Michael Scarn

October 2nd, 2012 at 1:02 PM ^

Granted, there are reasonable explanations as to other things occupying him at the time, but I might be a little mifffed if my team's head coach took that long to check on an injured player. 


October 2nd, 2012 at 1:03 PM ^

Trying to play Devil's advocate here....

There seems to be no outrage or guilt from Mark D', and the Internets (invented by Al Gore) have only a small amount of damnation for him and MSU.  Major news outlets like ESPN and SI aren't going all haywire on this.  I think its been mentioned, but no reporter -- and we know, those reporters love to tear down programs, not just Drew Sharp -- aren't exploding with condemnation.   Obvious, we see this through Maize-colored glasses, and are wont to immediately assume the worst about Mark D'.

So, maybe WE are the ones overreacting?  I just want to raise the point.  Mental exercise, if you will.  Step outside the box.  Let's ask the question -- are we overreacting -- what are we missing?




Yeah, well, I've been asking and thinking, but a 300+ lb. guy lying flat on his back 30 seconds without moving, after having his helmet visibly crushed... ok, I got nothing.

No, we arent.  WTF is Mark D' so non-reactive to this?


October 2nd, 2012 at 1:20 PM ^

You raise good questions, I think.  It seems to me that where our society is right now as far as concussions is where we were in, say, 1970 (if I have my history right) when it came to smoking.  There was a lot of publicly-available knowledge in 1970 that smoking caused cancer, but most people didn't live their lives accordingly.  I think the same is true with concussions right now.  Kirk Herbstreit, for example, probably knows at some level that it's a bad thing to put a guy with a concussion back in a game, but he also doesn't think much of it when it happens.  Putting such a player back into a game will probably become widely viewed as outrageous in the near future, but it obviously isn't yet...The admittedly self-serving other side of this coin is that this blog is ahead of the curve on this issue.   I remember several concussion-related discussions here that had nothing to do with MSU or any other rival, so I feel safe in saying that a lot of people who read this blog care about the issue regardless of whether it has anything to do with any paricular school. 


October 2nd, 2012 at 1:23 PM ^

Any time I still hear the phrase "got his bell rung" I know that the commentor doesn't treat concussions as serious injuries. These are not Hoke's "boo boos" you want to play through. Football players need to separate "toughing" through body injuries and "risking major brain issues" by playing through brain injuries.


October 2nd, 2012 at 1:04 PM ^

are missing the obvious here.  Gholston just "hulked up" and everything was all good.  Did you not see the Hulkster kick out at 2 after Savage dropped the big elbow, or after Earthquake delivered an Earthquake.  If he hulked up it's all good.


October 2nd, 2012 at 1:05 PM ^

and subsequent (long) slumber was freaking scary.  The staff should have taken away his helmet and told him to grab pine for the rest of the game.  Maybe Dantonio "didn't know" he was knocked out, but it is his job to know things like that and to draw hard lines for the health of his players.

As a fan and alum, I'd be pissed if Michigan did not do this for one of its players on a similar hit/loss of consciousness, regardless of the player or game. 


October 2nd, 2012 at 1:05 PM ^

First off, on "Stunned" there is a common football injury called a "stinger" which may be what he meant. Stingers are caused by hits to the top of the shoulder/collarbone area and they hit a nerve that makes a good chunk of your arm numb. Think of it as a funny-bone but further up your arm.

Secondly, I recall while watching the game that someone on the sideline had a flashlight in hand, apparently ready to do a concussion test. It is quite possible (not plausible) that Gholston was hit, scared, froze a bit, realized that he was OK, came to the sidelines, passed a concussion test, and missed all of 1 play. I doubt it, and I would not have let him play at all, but that's just me.

IMHO the conference needs to step in. There should be B1G (or NCAA) employees (including a neuologist if possible, at least a doctor) at every game as a "Head Injury Crew". One member sits in the booth with replays to see if there is a possible head injury on the field. If so the player is immediately taken off the field and his helmet is taken (can't go back in without a helmet). This independent medical team should check for concussions/other head trauma, and only when THEY are satisfied the player should be given back his helmet and allowed to return to the field.

Take the onus off the coaches/trainers. Head injuries are different. Football players (athletes in general) have the "toughness" quotient to worry about and they want to help their teams. No one will die on the field because they're toughing it through an ankle sprain. Someone can and will die on the field due to a head injury if it's not diagnosed and they're removed from contact.


October 2nd, 2012 at 1:18 PM ^

I played a lot of football (high school and college).  I had plenty of stingers.  You don't do that with a stinger.

Also, you don't just lay on the ground "scared and frozen" either, especially if you are an "All-American".

I know you are trying to play devil's advocate, I'm just saying those two theories don't pass the logic test.

I was knocked unconcious momentarily in a scrimmage before my senior year of high school (wow, almost 10 years now?! yikes!).  My helmet was off and I was not allowed back on the field the rest of the day.  That is what responsible adults do.

Marky D is just like most of college football - he is a power hungry man who will do whatever it takes to win.  He does not truly care about these kids, they are just a tool to elevate his status and make more money.  This is why I like Hoke so much, he truly cares about his players on AND MORE IMPORTANTLY off the field.


October 2nd, 2012 at 1:21 PM ^

and yeah, totally devil's advocate. I've had 1 concussion (hockey soph year of high school) and was out a week until the headaches went away. No questions asked, just done until I didn't have a headache.

Your latter point about the conflict of interest (kid's health vs. coach's/team's success) is why I think concussions need to be treated like a totally separate situation and dealt with by a non-partisan, non-competitive entity.

His Dudeness

October 2nd, 2012 at 1:08 PM ^

I can't even pretend to have any concern for that kid. Had he broken Denards neck last year - which he obviously tried to do and it is the only explaination for him twisting off Denards helmet while he was already down - would we have any concern for him at all? No. I don't have any concern for him now. Let his brain be bludgeoned into mush for all I care. Fuck those eye gouging, helmet twisting, finger breaking, engineering student beatdowning pieces of shit in East Lansing. There is literally nothing that could happen to those players that would make me have the slightest bit of sympathy for them. Pride comes before the whatever the fuck that moron says when he isn't teaching young men to be boys between the lines.  


October 2nd, 2012 at 1:19 PM ^

I don't necessarily agree with your whole post, but I agree with the Fuck State sentiment. Especially now that ND is out of my life, I need to focus that hate on someone else, and Sparty will be it, for now. Fuck 'em. I hope we beat them by 50 and Jake Ryan fucks Gholston's girlfriend, all in the same night.


October 2nd, 2012 at 2:35 PM ^

I don't know if you know how to differentiate between being a human being and cheering for a SPORTS TEAM. This isn't about "win with him" or "wouldn't hire him" or "I've got nothing for him." This is about a PERSON and whether or not he has suffered a severe, life-altering injury.

"Let his brain be bludgeoned into mush for all I care?"

Walk. The fuck. Away.


October 2nd, 2012 at 1:18 PM ^

With the way Gholston was acting toward the trainers as he walked off the field I would not be a bit surprised if he lied to everyone on the sideline and told them "I had the wind knocked out of me"



October 2nd, 2012 at 1:37 PM ^

Which is why trainers and medical staff need to do a little more thorough evaluation rather than just take a guys word for it.  Football players are macho guys and never want to admit they are hurt, it's up to medical personnel to interrogate and assess to make sure everything is OK.  Dantonio characterizing Gholston as being "stunned" is a disturbing admission that falls short of he was never unconscious.


October 2nd, 2012 at 1:23 PM ^

over who plays because of injury? Do their sideline tests matter? They answer to their boss and if the head coach is unhappy with them, he can just get another medical staff.

" there is no sideline test that would clear him to play. "


October 2nd, 2012 at 1:33 PM ^

That they let Gholston get up after that collision.  I was expecting him to be at least mobilized on the field at the time of the incident.  You sure don't want to mess around with someones neck or spine after the hit he took.


October 2nd, 2012 at 2:14 PM ^

"I don't know how anyone can watch the video and not think that Gholston was anything other than knocked out cold, for at least 30 seconds."

It also seems to me in the YouTube clip of this hit that he's a little more than stunned. One of the officials tapped him on the back, and a few players look like they try to mention somehow that the play is now over and Gholston doesn't move at all for an eerie amount of time. Indeed, when the trainers get to him, he still appears to be motionless, and by then about 20 seconds or so have elapsed. I am not a physician, but he really looked like someone who was out cold and should not have seen the field again.

In any event, it is interesting that Dantonio should apparently use "stunned", being that one of its primary usages is "to knock unconscious" basically. I didn't understand why he was put back in and I still don't - they didn't show much of the sideline activity, but you would hope that staff would be all over him after that and taken his helmet.

You would also definitely hope that, even if Gholston was saying he was OK once he was at least aware again, that they would be checking him out anyway, especially after an extremely brutal hit like that - that's not a situation where you should just take the player's word for it, I would think. If it is ever discovered for certain that Gholston was cleared to play when he should not have been (and after that hit, just the way it looked and the aftermath, my non-medical opinion is that he should have sat and been tested), I would hope all hell would break loose inside at least the Spartan medical staff - that's playing with lives.