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.


Johnny Blood

October 2nd, 2012 at 1:58 PM ^

I've largely avoided commenting on this issue, but there a few things I thought worth pointing out:

1) I was very impressed with how Braxton Miller handled it.  I hate Ohio with the heat of 1000 Suns, but I tip my cap to him there.  Very mature and responsible to lay as still as possible until the situation was under control -- as opposed to Gholston's own teammate who crawled out of there. 

2) We have had similar situations in the past at Michigan where a player was <stunned>, but in those instances we took the player out of the game.  I don't know if this was a medical team call or a coaches call, but I remember RichRod of all people doing this at least two times -- once with Tate and once with Denard.  I was shocked that MSU allowed Gholston back in the game at the time and remain so now.  The potential for long-term damage just isn't worth putting him back in the rest of the game.

oriental andrew

October 2nd, 2012 at 2:08 PM ^

Re: your first point, I don't necessarily know that Miller was laying still so they could properly attend to Gholston.  It looked like trainers were looking at him, too, to make sure he was ok.  If anything, I would say that it looked like Braxton Miller "lost his wind" and was just getting his breath back lying there. 

And I wouldn't point fingers at the teammate who crawled out from under the pile.  That's a natural reaction to having people piled on top of you, particularly in the heat of a game.


October 2nd, 2012 at 2:04 PM ^

I am sure that many who read MGOBLOG have had the wind knocked out of them at some point in life. Having had this occur several times in my existance, it is an uncomfortable, scary state to be in. As I recall these events I can clearly state at no time during any incident did I lay completely motionless for 30 seconds or more. You are trying to sit up and stuggling to take air in and laying face down motionless on someone else while having a real-life "flight or fight" reaction is not believable.

I think Brian was appropriate in calling out anyone on MSU's sideline who had the authority to hold Gholston out, given what is going on with retired vets in the NFL who can't remember their name most days.

The B10 office should investigate this occurrance. You can tell when Gholston stood up there was somethiing more happening than losing his breath.


October 2nd, 2012 at 11:02 PM ^

I don't think for a minute that Gholston had the wind knocked out of him, but having the wind knocked out can lead to unconsciousness.  I've had the wind knocked out of me several times as well, and most of those times, it was just as you described.  However, I did lose consciousness once as well, and goofing around, I accidently knocked a kid out in 7th grade.  Someone told us it if you hyperventilated for a minute or so then had someone grab you around the torso, you would pass out.  I didn't believe it and neither did the kid who agreed to play the victim.  He took about 10 rapid deep breaths, I grabbed him around the middle from behind, and I thought he was faking that he passed out.  I let go of him--big mistake--he fell flat on his face. I spent the next 30 minutes in the vice principal's office (back in the days when vice principals always seemed to be ex-military  with buzz cuts and looked something like Chuck Wepner).


October 2nd, 2012 at 2:23 PM ^

Section 1, did anyone ask Dantonio about the Jack Allen gouging Jonathon Hankins' eyes? Granted Hankins made some jackass statements before the game, but that combined with the late hits on Braxton Miller out of bounds int he first series, etc., made for a typical Sparty dirty game.

Not looking forward to this crap when they come to Ann Arbor. I just hope Taylor and the boys establish early on that shit will not be tolerated. Maybe they'll act the fools the week before against Iowa in East Lansing, and the Big Ten officials will be on the lookout for tomfoolery.

Section 1

October 2nd, 2012 at 4:06 PM ^

Yes, as seen in the transcript:


For my part, the Allen/Hankins thing is just routine trench dirtiness.  They both had hands in the other guy's face. In that regard, I take little issue with Dantonio. At the same time, I don't blame Urban Meyer one bit for sending the videotape to the Conference.   My guess is that it is not going to be a big story; maybe Allen will have to sit out the Indiana game. 

But the Gholston/concussion story has, I think, real legs.  The fact that Brent Musberger was saying on national television that he thought Gholston was knocked out is one of those kinds of things that makes people in big corner offices say, "We have to do something in this case..."

One thing that I got from the transcript of the presser was that Dantonio seemed to be back on his meds after that last presser where he flipped out with the "Next question" routine.  He was a different guy; no doubt chastened by the reaction to his previous freakout.


October 2nd, 2012 at 2:49 PM ^

I will say, I kind of doubt anyone would care about this issue if there wasn't at least a latent sense of moral superiority derived by the fanbase compared to MSU.  I'm not saying that Dantonio doesn't deserve to be taken to task if Gholston went out there with a concussion, but my guess is that if this happened at Indiana or Pitt or some other relatively unrelated program nobody here would care that much.


October 2nd, 2012 at 4:12 PM ^

If this happened at Indiana, it might be not as hot of a topic on the board, but I'm sure it would still be posted, either on the board or on the front page. If it happened at Pitt, less so, but they're still Midwest, so maybe.  If it happened at somewhere boring out west, say Utah, for instance, then maybe not.

I think the bigger reason that this board cares about it is not due to moral superiority but that this occurred in a game involving our two most major opponents left on the schedule, occurred to a player who tried to decapitate Denard last year, and occurred during what was probably the most-watch college football game last weekend by people who frequent this website.  I'm sure moral superiority is involved somewhat, as well, but I think it would be an even hotter topic with more outrage attached if Hoke were the one letting a player return to the game under those circumstances.  I'm sure there would be more devil's advocates as well, but there'd be several calling for Hoke's job.  I might be one of them.

The reason for the activity is largely proximity to the situation.  Gholston is probably the first player on MSU most of us would name if weirdly asked to name the first player on MSU you can think of (at least, the first correct answer most of us would come up with.)  He'd also probably come up at or near the top of most-hated current college football players on this board.

As a side note, I was very glad to see that the banhammer was evoked for those who thought that making light of a potentially serious injury was an appopriate response to the situation.  It's one reason I like this site.


October 2nd, 2012 at 4:26 PM ^

I do agree that someone would have noticed if this happened at a different school and probably would have posted it, but the undercurrent of "Hoke would never allow that to happen, Dantonio is a d*ck" that flows through these posts is still evident.  Also, of course, Gholston is pretty notorious, and while I certainly do not want to see any kid hurt playing football, I would be lying if I didn't find it ironic that a kid who tried to take the head off of a QB with a cheap hit was knocked out trying to do an actual football-like tackle of a QB in a game.

But yeah, banhammer away to anyone who thought Gholston deserved that.  He might be a bit of a jerk, but that doesn't condone ill feelings toward his health.


October 2nd, 2012 at 3:45 PM ^

So I showed her the clip without any background info. Her responses:

**Initial Response**

1) How did he not snap his spinal chord?

**Is he moving?**

2) No, he looks limp and unconcious.

**Should he have been allowed to keep playing?**

3) No way. That is at least a concussion if not something else. He wasn't allowed to play any more, was he?


October 2nd, 2012 at 3:50 PM ^

Even if a concussion  is the most likely cause of Gholston’s symptoms, other problems—which may not involve a loss of consciousness-- also can cause temporary paralysis. 

I do not see patients with such problems, and I lack the information to do any more than speculate.  But, I cannot help thinking about what happened to Zia Combs (despite obvious differences in what happened to Gholston).After an unintentional hit by Ernest Shazor, Combs lost muscular control without a loss of consciousness.  One possible cause of that would be a milder version of a “spinal stroke”--caused by a temporary loss of blood supply to the spinal cord.  Another, more common cause, is a “spinal concussion,”  which can occur when the neck is suddenly extended backwards (as occured with Gholston).  Such trauma can cause a temporary paralysis due to transient pressure on the spinal cord .  The likelihood of that condition may depend on the duration and nature of his symptoms, which may include sensation disturbances.

My point is that-- even if Gholston did not lose consciousness--any possibility of spinal problems would also raise serious questions about his return to play in the same game..  He would first need tests to rule out spinal conditions, which predispose toward a recurrence of the problem.  And even  if the tests were normal, such players and their parents might need to be warned about a small but present risk of permanent spinal cord injury if they ever return to play.  Maybe such risks are one reason why Zia Combs never played again.

Again, I am not saying Gholston’s problems were as bad a Zia’s or he had a spinal and not a cerebral concussion.  All we can do is speculate, since we still lack a clear, complete, or plausible explanation.   I hope MSU will provide a better explanation to Gholston’s parents and the B1G.






October 2nd, 2012 at 4:07 PM ^

Dantonio has demonstrated that he has on concern for the safety of students on MSU's campus by allowing his team to beat up students in their own homes without consequence.

 Why on earth would anyone expect him to care for his players, or really anyone but himself?  He certainly hasn't given anyone any reasons to do so.


October 2nd, 2012 at 4:20 PM ^

Montee Ball was "stunned" on his first carry vs. UTEP. He took a direct hit to the head and fumbled for the first time in his career.  He played a few more quarters. He also had concussion issues over the summer.

Throw Bielema in the same boat.

No real point, I guess.


October 2nd, 2012 at 5:00 PM ^

Any length to find something wrong with MSU. The neurologist on the field may be a but more trained in recognizing a concussion than almost all of you.

Section 1

October 2nd, 2012 at 5:12 PM ^

If you think that there is a good, clear credible story in this case, such that our questions aren't even any good...

...then tell us what that story is.

Did Gholston suffer a loss of consciousness?  Yes or no.

If "no," how do you explain the video?

If Gholston did suffer a loss of consciousness, doesn't the neurological literature generally rate that as a moderate to severe concussion?   

How exactly was Gholston tested and on what basis was he returned to play? Who made the decision?  Did the decision include the history of "loss of conscousness" or not?


October 2nd, 2012 at 5:26 PM ^

and it's clear that nothing I, or someone else, can change the mind of anyone here. It's pointless to get in a debate when people are using straw man arguments and ad hominem attacks instead of contributing to actual discourse on the issue. 

If I'm wrong about this and something comes out showing that Dantonion forced him in, I will be the first to one to say that I'm wrong. I'll make a thread and apologize to every single person that I argued with, if that's what you'd like.  But then again, I don't think that I'm wrong.



Section 1

October 2nd, 2012 at 5:36 PM ^

I didn't engage in any straw man arguments.  I stated the issue, and the questions, pretty clearly. 

And I didn't engage in any ad hominem attacks.  I went out of my way, in this thread, to de-personalize it as to Dantonio, and instead questioned the performance of the entire MSU staff as a whole, asking who really was individually responsible for Gholston's clearance.  I know Brian Cook went after Dantonio yesterday; I distanced myself from that today, while openly confessing my sympathy for what I think is the correctness of Brian's underlying premise.

I think I set up the discourse pretty fairly.  I have quoted Dantonio.  I have stayed on point.  More than anything, I have asked questions.


October 2nd, 2012 at 9:19 PM ^

I've faced still faced enough flak from the rest of the MGoSphere that I have realized that I can't change anyone's mind on this. If I can't change anyone's mind, I don't really have a motivation to argue this any further when I have much more urgent work in real life to worry about first. I'm sorry if this disappoints you, but I think the hatred towards MSU flows too deeply among the fanbase for most anyone here to have a fair and accurate view of this situation.


October 2nd, 2012 at 9:08 PM ^

I posted some video screenshots in Brian's thread.

Gholston may have lost consciousness, no question. But he may not have. The medical staff were evaluating him within 30 seconds from the end of the play. Gholston looks like he was moving at least 10 seconds before they got there.

If Gholston lost consciousness, then he shouldn't have gone back in. The medical staff who were there probably did not see the video replay that was shown on TV. When they got there, he was probably conscious. They did a quick evaluation of his neck and felt he was fine to walk off on his own accord.

On the sideline, they administer standard concussion tests and he passes the evaluation. So you have a player who denies a loss of consciousness (because he may not realize he was unconscious), medical staff who do not witness the unconsciousness (and are not privy to the replays on the TV), and the player passes all of the standard tests. Do you hold him out of the game?

In hindsight, I think more attention should have been paid to his spine. I don't know if Gholston had a concussion, but he could have had a serious enough neck injury to warrant going to the hospital. The question they should have asked Dantonio is whether Gholston has gotten an MRI and/or CT scan of his head and neck. If so, and I am pretty sure they have done it, then why didn't they get it right away?

Ultimately, I think that if the doctors saw the video of his injury then in spite of their examination they would have erred on the side of caution. But, with the information at their disposal, I don't think they necessarily made an error.

Section 1

October 3rd, 2012 at 10:29 AM ^

The only movement that I saw from Gholston were his limp and virtually lifeless limbs moving as first Bullough and then Braxton Miller moved their own bodies out from under the unmoving weight of Will Gholston.  The simple fact that any movement on the part of Gholston was so weirdly absent (lying face down, arm over Braxton Miller, unresponsive to Bullough underneath him) is enough in my view to think that the kid is simply out cold, which also happens to be the opinion of at least some people on the scene who were eyewitnesses in the stands.

I saw no voluntary movement for a very long time.  And when he was able to move, it was in a way that I associate with someone who has been hit in the head, not someone who has had the wind knocked out.

But this is just you and me, talking about our lay-opinions of a videotape.  I am frankly surprised, that so far no highly-qualified expert on sports-related concussion has jumped into the fray.  I'd love to see that happen.


October 2nd, 2012 at 8:28 PM ^

I searched the internet, including the MSU AD website, yet I could not find the neurologist, which Dantonio says must have examined Gholston.  Affiliated with the AD are a bunch of family docs and orthopedists, the latter of whom can function like neurologists in examining certain sports injuries.  But head trauma is not their strength. 

While I cannot judge their qualifications or Dantonio's credibility, questions about this case seem quite appropriate.  Indeed, given Gholston's prolonged immobility, they are unavoidable.



October 2nd, 2012 at 9:25 PM ^

(although I do not blindly accept what he says in prepared press conference remarks either).

Perhaps there was a real neurologist there;  I am just saying that I cannot find one on their staff.

It is also possible that Dantonio truly believed he had a neurologist on his staff but did not.  Some docs call themselves neurologists when they have not passed their boards.  But there is usually a reason why they have not passed.  I have seen some egregious examples.

Clearly, it's not possible to for me to know what truly happened.  Nor is it possible for you to know.  However, I do think that discussing the MSU medical staff, or claims about them, is reasonable in this case.  How this case was handled should be more transparent.


October 2nd, 2012 at 9:38 PM ^

"What neurologist." Then you go along to talk about how you can find no reference to a neurologist on the MSU website. You're clearly suggesting that MSU had no neurologist on the staff. 

How would you like the case to be more transparent? Throw out HIPPA so we can have full access to his medical records? Unfortunately, the needs and rights of millions of patients may outweigh the desire of MGoBlog to have access to the medical records of a single MSU football player.


October 2nd, 2012 at 11:02 PM ^

I said I could find no neurologist on the staff of the MSU athletic department.  It's easily cleared up if you can tell me what neurologist was there on the sideline to evaluate Gholston.  Dantonio clearly said there was one.

As far as the HIPAA concerns, you do point toward an important ethical dilemma, which has been discussed in the medical literature.   Are the rights of the patient to privacy (especially a minor) inviolable?  What if the parents refuse to let him see a neurologist due to concerns that he may jeopardize his NFL career, if the news is released?   Also, what happens to the rest of the players on the team, if a coach pressures staff to do only a cursory review of this player to keep him in the game?  (at the end of the SB nation article I posted, there is another link which illustrates how easily this can occur).  

Certainly, patient rights to privacy are important, and I did not say that this information needs to be made available to internet chat boards.. But IMO, some kind of review mechanism is needed if a kid shows signs of temporary paralysis, then gets up, and the coach sends him back into the game.   Dantonio did not indicate there would be any review.  What could make him initiate one, if not media pressure?


October 2nd, 2012 at 5:06 PM ^

what the "base knowledge" test is for a Spartan player.  It probably goes a little something like this...

William, what number are you?

William, what is your first name?

William, what color is green?

OK Coach D, he is good to go.


Also, what is an impact test?  Sparty just continues to outdo itself.

Buck Killer

October 2nd, 2012 at 7:00 PM ^

I don't care if it is Sparty or even an ohio kid. A flipping sideline test is bullshit if he was knocked out, and he was. If a Michigan player got knocked out and Hoke put him back in I would be irate. This isn't the 70's, and we need to protect these young men. Shame on all of you for defending Dantonio. People that say they need more evidence blow. That guy is a selfish dick! I hope he is caught cheating, because with his ethics he is cheating. Get well William, because your mind doesn't grow back like hair. You lose it and it will be stubble at best. I bet we will hear about eye gouging or injury intent soon. When does it stop with him?


October 2nd, 2012 at 7:47 PM ^

I am not trying to troll anyone here, I honestly want opinions.  I read the whole thread and I appreciate the takes here of many, including Section1, bronxblue, and also hart20.  However there are some comments that are pretty high and mighty.

For those of you who are so adamant on the "if unconscious, then concussion" thing: 

(1) could you please direct me (link) to a credible source stating that they're unequivocally linked? (I know there was a bunch of so-and-so-I-know-who-is-a-doctor earlier in this thread, but bear with me). 

(2) what are your feelings about boxing and MMA wherein the entire point of the competition is to try and knock your opponent unconcious or cause other material bodily damage. Is that okay because they know what they signed up for?  Or just because after they get "knocked out/concussed" they don't "go back in" because the fight is over (dubious, I think repeated trauma is pretty common).  Should these sports be banned?

(3) There are various (incongrous) assertions in this thread (ex. - (a) blame the sideline doctors, (b) blame Dantonio, no one listens to the sideline doctors, etc...).  I was under the impression that baseline testing was standard procedure and if you pass you can play.  It's not just some MSU policy. If people aren't satisfied with that process, blame the process and advocate that stricter standards need to be implemented at the Big 10 or NCAA level.  "Saying this is the process, but MSU should have done more,what scumbags!" seems like people are just finding an excuse to throw some vitriol at a rival.


October 2nd, 2012 at 8:21 PM ^

1) here is a peer reviewed study published in the Journal of Athletic Training, a medical journal for sports doctors. It states in there a few times that concussions are possible without loss of consciousness, but if LOC occurs then it is likely a concussion and bottom line is he shouldn't have gone back in the game if he was indeed knocked cold.


2) Boxers & other fighters know that they are taking their health into their own hands (and their opponents) every time they step in the ring.  They are wearing the bare minimum of safety equipment and are knowingly subjecting their bodies to blunt force trauma repeatedly for money.  They're selling their bodies, in a nutshell.  That said, it is their choice, and also, unlike NCAA sports they are not getting a college degree while they are doing their sport.  Football players are wearing several pounds of safety equipment to try to minimize the risk to their bodies, so overall I don't think #2 is a fair comparison.

3) One of the problems I have is that Dantonio appears to be uninformed as to what happened to Gholston on the field, even now a couple days later. That shows a clear breakdown in communication between the doctors and the coach, which is not a good sign for the overall safety of players.  As to changing the process, that has been suggested on the other threads that covered this topic earlier in the week by many, including myself, to strengthen it to protect the players.  Because of that, that's probably why it isn't getting talked about today, because we hashed that out yesterday.

Hope that helps with what you were looking for.


October 2nd, 2012 at 8:38 PM ^

  1. I don't do too much reading in medical dictionaries, but from the looks of it, this is saying that any blow to the head followed by unconsciousness is, at a minimum, a Grade III concussion. I admit I could be wrong about this, but that's how I'm interpreting the text.
  2. I think if two consenting adults decide to strike each other in the head with their fists, then they should go for it. I don't watch too much boxing (although Ali is my favorite athlete of all time and one of the only sports figures I'd consider a personal hero), literally no MMA, and I wouldn't let my hypothetical children participate. I'm sure you can guess from my first sentence, no they should not be banned, in my opinion.
  3. I don't think MSU, as a football organization, did a good job with Gholston. I'll stress that this is my opinion and in no way am I a doctor, but bringing him back in after one play seems like there could have been an error made in haste, and I'd guess there was after reading Dantonio's presser and seeing what I saw on TV. Even if there wasn't an error, I'm firmly in the camp that says the Big Ten and NCAA need to do more about neurological health in contact sports.


October 2nd, 2012 at 9:19 PM ^

Thanks to both of you.  Sounds reasonable.  Went down the rabbit hole on this and found this from a wikipedia source:


"The most significant effects of concussion are loss of awareness and traumatic amnesia [3132]. Opinions are not uniform. For example, a questionnaire was recently sent to physicians at 105 emergency surgery, neurological and neurosurgery departments in Austria. Retrograde amnesia was given as the main criterion for concussion by 88, loss of consciousness by 86 and post-traumatic amnesia (PTA) by 81% [33].

Definitions are generally qualified by the statement that the loss of consciousness can occur in the absence of any gross or microscopic cerebral damage [34]."


Anywho, I generally agree LOC probably means concussion and he probably shouldn't have been back in there after 1 play off.  Reluctant to call out individuals without knowing the behind the scenes story though.  Also, I don't have a problem with what Dantonio said in the PR; seemed reasonable and generally in line with coachspeak on all injuries.


October 2nd, 2012 at 9:32 PM ^

Just for a final world from me, I don't think we have the evidence to call anyone out by name either. It looked to me like they rushed to get him back on the field, but that could have been a combination of people, or one person not having the right information, or maybe something sinister and ugly at the other end of the spectrum (not likely). I used the word organization because I don't know what exactly happened or who might be responsible for a hypothetical mistake.


October 2nd, 2012 at 8:56 PM ^

The links below echo what's already been said in this thread. 

Regarding whether or not Gholston had a concussion, the neuropsych tests that Dantonio refers to are known to be unreliable and other clinical findings need to be considered.  Lying like a rag doll atop the OSU QB for minutes is not normal.