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.



October 2nd, 2012 at 12:44 PM ^

Is this something the conference can take action on?  Did not read the comments in yesterdays post so if this was already covered yesterday sorry.  ish.

True Blue Grit

October 2nd, 2012 at 1:17 PM ^

unless the conference can find eye-witnesses (or Gholston himself admits he was out) who will say that he got knocked out - nothing will happen.  Now if he got examined by a doctor later who found he had a concussion, crap would probably hit the fan.  Otherwise, Dantonio will skate by on this like he has other stuff.


October 2nd, 2012 at 12:50 PM ^

Did anyone seem the least bit upset at Dantonio's lack of concern over his player's safety?  Did anyone in the media do anything that would indicate Dantonio's explanation was not credible or did they simply accept it as fact and move on?

Anybody...and I mean anybody who has played football knows that when somebody has "lost their wind" they dont lay motionless.  They act exactly opposite of how Gholston reacted and they thrash around in obvious pain until they get their wind back.  It's the lack of motion that scares coaches and trainers which is exactly what Gholston did-to the point of laying on the QB until he regain his bearings somewhat.

What Dantonio allowed was beyond appalling.  I will be interested to see if any of the Detroit media MSU apologists say or do anything about it.


October 2nd, 2012 at 7:20 PM ^

Drs can and have done things that aren't in the best interest of the patient's health due to pressures in some form or another.  In addition to the job loss pressure, the team Dr might take a lot of pride in having that kind of access to the players - imagine him as a superbooster in terms of access, and him being a total Sparty fanboy, who gets a rush from his access to the team and sideline seats for every game, plus travel to every away game.  He might not want to do anything to jeopardize that.  All I'm saying is we don't know the Drs motives.


October 2nd, 2012 at 1:59 PM ^

Oh I totally agree. Doctors make mistakes all the time. But you don't need to be a doctor to know to keep a guy out of a game when he was just lying there unconcious  for 30 or so seconds after  having direct head contact. That is a big red flag saying "he may have a serious injuy, no game is worth a serious injury".


October 2nd, 2012 at 1:32 PM ^

Really? I can guarantee you every single medical student is taking salary into acount when choosing a specialty. Money is important to everybody, especially highly educated people

Moreover, there is a ton of money for a practice that is the staff for the MSU Spartans. That publicity is worth it's weight in gold. Thomas Jefferson in Philly is mostly known because they are the MDs for the Eagles.

Everyone and their mom wants to go there for orthroscopic surgery (over UPenn, Temple, Drexel) simply because of that branding. I mean, if they operated on Vick's knee, surely they can fix mine.


October 2nd, 2012 at 1:52 PM ^

I would have to question that....my wife and one son is a doc (at UM) and I can assure you that money is not a motivation when making a decision about a patient's welfare.  We have talked about issues like this countless times.  You do what is right for the patient.  The day that stops happening is the day you should leave the profession.  Money makes a difference when choosing specialties, but that was done probably a couple of decades ago. 

If the medical people had reason to suspect that a kid has been knocked out (concussed) and then allow him to immediately go back into a game, then something is tragically wrong.  The priority should be the player's well being first and the coach's wishes second, which is why this situation reeks of impropriety.


October 2nd, 2012 at 2:19 PM ^

if they have taken a class/ been instructed on coding procedures a certain way to maximize profit. Ask them if they perform additional tests, just in case (either to avoid a lawsuit or because another specialist is parranoid). This yields the hospital more money. Ask them if any of their salary is RVU based.

If your son or wife is in academic medicine, ask them about sources of funding (Pharma, Biotech, government). Ask them if research is published that shows a medicine is ineffective.

This isn't a fantasy world. If Dantonio (or Hoke or any coach) wants a kid to play the kid will play. Period. There is too much money on the line for Doctors to go against the coach.

I don't dislike Doctors, I love them, but Medicine is a business, just like journalism.


October 2nd, 2012 at 2:30 PM ^

No physician would risk losing their medical license over a football game.  These physicians are employed by the hospital which sends them to the game.  They would NEVER lose their jobs for making the right decision and keeping a kid out.  Dantonio would lose his job the next day.  I think it's more likely the doc made a really bad, but honest, call rather than lying to get gholston back in. 


October 2nd, 2012 at 3:10 PM ^

I would be happy to respond to your comment, which is painting with an incredibly broad  stroke comprised of a couple of years of anti-doc sound bites, but this forum is not the place, at least as I interpret forum rules. 

A while back it might have been acceptable to allow someone to play who "merely" got their bell rung.  That was before the few minor issues of long term neurotrauma to the couple of thousand players, the plaintiffs, who recently sued the NFL, and before the recent rule change in college football for kickoffs.  Junior Seau?  Remember him and the issues his death raised?  Dave Duerson?  Tip of the iceberg.

Do I think that Hoke would risk putting a kid back in who just got knocked out?  No, I don't, nor do I think that most coaches would run that risk.  I'd like to think that is because the well being of their players means something.  Even if it didn't, you run the risk of signficant legal heartburn down the road should something happen to the player, particularly when the event has occurred in front of millions of viewers and with multiple angle digital images.  This is precisely why so many of us are asking questions.



October 2nd, 2012 at 4:16 PM ^

Yes, doctors will risk whatever and put players back in who are hurt. Yes they value working for a big time sports team more than their oath.  I mentioned this in the other thread, but read the book-



From Publishers Weekly Huizenga joined the L.A. Raiders in 1983 as the team internist and resigned in 1990, disillusioned at the way pro football, and the Raiders in particular, treated, or failed to treat, players' medical problems. The title was the tag line of his orthopedic colleague, Robert Rosenfeld, who used it with virtually every injured athlete and winked at the use of all sorts of pills by team members. While president of the NFL Physicians' Association, Huizenga campaigned against the use of anabolic steroids, but his proposal to ban them was quietly squelched by the owners in 1992. Here he continues the battle by detailing the case of Lyle Alzado, an ex-Raider who died in 1992 from, among other causes, decades-long use of muscle builders. The author has suggestions for making football less lethal but seems pessimistic about their adoption. A shocker, a sort of Ball Four about the grid game. Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal What young, sports-minded doctor would turn down an opportunity to work for the Los Angeles Raiders? Huizenga certainly couldn't. He was the team internist from 1983 to 1990. While mastering the arcane skills of sports medicine in the raw, Huizenga discovered the prevalence of drug, alcohol, and steroid abuse in the National Football League and the extent to which good medicine takes a back seat to the good of the team. His personal crusade for medical care that emphasizes health led to a clash with a team orthopedist, who dismissed a player's potentially life-threatening physical condition with the comment that became the book's title. Management backed the orthopedist. This doctor's view of the inner workings of the Raider organization and the NFL will entertain readers while providing the average fan with a better understanding of football. Recommended for popular sports collections.

Let me say, do I think this is what happened at MSU?  No. I think Dantonio really doesn't know what the heck was going on in the middle of the game, someone said it's ok to put him in, and he made the mistake of not giving it a second thought. And I would image any doctor didn't want to put an injurred guy in there, but in the heat of the moment didn't do all the due diligence necessary.  A mistake was quite possibly made; but I don't think it's to the point of purposeful action. Negligence, maybe.  It's possible to do something wrong without being a super villian in the situation, and I'm guessing that's what happened.


October 2nd, 2012 at 4:32 PM ^

I don't disagree with the premise, but two key differences here - (1) the author of the book was the internist for the Raiders in the mid-80s, so a professional team nearly 30 years ago, and (2) football has changed so dramatically in the past couple of years as it pertains to injuries that it is hard to imagine this type of behavior flying now.  Yes, I do expect that some pros find a way to play/convince a doctor to let them play despite medical reasons against it, but a medical professional on the sideline of a college game is probably not going to be swayed by a kid and/or some position coach to let him play if the doctor felt he was concussed.  I mean, concussions are THE thing people talk about when it comes to sports injuries right now. 

Honestly, I think a mistake was made to let him back out.  Maybe the doctor misdiagnosed the situation, maybe Gholston really did respond positively to the tests, maybe the tests were never performed, etc.  Regardless, I have my doubts that in today's college football landscape a doctor would knowingly okay a player to go back out after a concussion even if (s)he was pressured by outsiders.


October 2nd, 2012 at 6:09 PM ^

Has sports, and our knowledge changed so it makes it a lot less likely that someone would put pressure a doctor to make that decision? Sure. And in college more so, I would hope. Would no doctors ever risk their reputation and license to help teams win games? That idea is what I was questioning, because they're just as human as the rest of us, and there are as many scumbag doctors as lawyers, bankers, teachers, coaches, or anything else. (OK, maybe not lawyers) And they have and do bend the rules for the same reseasons others do - money, prestige, to succeed, to win, ego. And the reasons not to are similar to coaches cheating; they're so rarely punished that the fear of repercussions doesn't outweigh the gains.

It happens, and the higher the stakes, the more it happens. More often it's incompetence though, whether it's Justin Fargas here, or Grant Hill playing hurt and wrecking his career. Which is why I made sure to point out I think the MSU situation is a lot more likely the latter than the former.

Section 1

October 2nd, 2012 at 1:22 PM ^

... and where I'd be more cautious and conservative than some of my MGoFriends.

It is clearly the Spartan medical staff's job to clear Gholston, or not.  Just like I presume that Gholston was knocked out from some pretty damned obvious videotape, I also presume that Mark Dantonio was too busy coaching the football game to hold sway over any concussion testing. 

But this is why there needs to be more and better questions asked.  Who did clear Gholston?  What was their clearance based on?  What was the operative history before making that clearance?  Did Gholston lose consciousness or not?  If not, what are we seeing in that video?  Does Dantonio agree that a player who is knocked out after a hit to the head is a presumptive concussion case?  If in fact Gholston had been knocked out, does Dantonio have enough basic-level concussion knowledge to know that he should not play any more football for at least 24-48 hours?  There is of course nothing in that video that looks like treatment of a player who got the wind knocked out of them; who told Dantonio that Gholston had gotten the wind knocked out, and what was it based on?

Everyone Murders

October 2nd, 2012 at 1:01 PM ^

Dantonio's explanation (per your report) leaves me stunned.  Not, you know, unconscious due to impact.  Really stunned.

It just seems very cavalier in an era where the risks of head injuries are so well known.  I'd have a lot of trouble sending my kid to school there, if that's Dantonio's attitude.  It's not like this play escaped his notice - play stopped while things got sorted out on the field.

There's no way I'd send a kid back on the field after that hit without at least having a doctor run a sideline concussion evaluation.  (Hopefully this happened, but the video suggests Gholston was out cold for a bit - which in turn suggests there may have been no concussion evaluation.  Also, you'd think Dantonio would bring up the fact of a concussion evaluation had one occurred after Gholston's collision - no need to leave the public guessing.)

In fact, there's no way I'd send a kid who appeared to black out back on the field period.  Ever.  It just seems reckless.