Will there be any consequences for Arizona violating the NCAA concussion policy?

Submitted by mejunglechop on October 30th, 2012 at 3:49 AM

I'm not a doctor, but I suspect this happens more than we'd like to admit. Last year Tommy Rees looked more than a little dazed and came back and this year Will Gholston appeared to be out cold. Nevertheless I've never seen the media make an issue of it before, maybe they have feared losing access. I'm glad it's happening. I am disappoint, Rodriguez. Obviously the handling of this has consequences for all of college football. 



Section 1

October 30th, 2012 at 10:59 AM ^

I actually looked for that.  It seemed to me to be the easiest and clearest explanation.  Occam's Razor and all.

The only reason I didn't post anything was because I couldn't find anything.  I would have, if I had been able to confirm my suspicions.

I don't honestly know what sort of connection there might be, if any, between Diamond and USC, or Diamond and UCLA, or Diamond and the football concussion syndrome lawyers, or Diamond and the AZ Wildcats, or Diamond and Rosenberg/Snyder/Michigan Daily, etc.. 

The fact that I'm not aware of any connection, certainly doesn't mean that none exists.  Maybe there is no connection.  Back in the fall of 2009, I didn't really understand why Deadspin came to Rosenberg's aid and defense, with a rather direct targeting of this blog.  (Deadspin now looks perfectly ridiculous in the wake of Three and Out, of course.)  But writers are humans too; prone to their own prejudices and grievances.

Does anybody have a complete bio on Dan Diamond?


October 30th, 2012 at 12:46 PM ^

FWIW:  I have seen his stuff in a couple of healthcare journals. Works with “consulting groups” and does free-lance, I believe. Diamond doesn't appear to have a major ax to grind and is an education and healthcare journalist.  ( Taken from Advisory Board Company profile )

Managing Editor of the Daily Briefing a newsletter for a global research, technology, and consulting firm on health care and higher education.

Dan received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and serves on the D.C. board of Penn’s alumni chapter. His writing has also appeared in Kaiser Health News, Forbes, The Health Care Blog, the Baltimore Sun, and is contributing editor for California Healthline.


October 30th, 2012 at 7:42 AM ^

The NCAA's concussion policy is called a "policy" for a reason:  it is neither a playing rule nor a bylaw.

No enforcement mechanism is attached to an NCAA "policy," so if the Arizona training staff put their player in danger, they are only answerable to the player and to the University, but not to the NCAA.


Section 1

October 30th, 2012 at 11:32 AM ^

You've done it too; you've presumed that a policy exists.  I still haven't seen any policy.  No one has supplied one.  Do you have a cite or a link for any "policy"?

A post just above this one presumes that players might start suing the NCAA and/or their universities for "malpractice."  Let's just run down the defenses to a malpractice case filed on behalf of Matt Scott in this case:

  1. Affirmative defense Number One; Rich Rodriguez and the Arizona Wildcats football staff are not health care professionals and therefore not subject to a "malpractice" cause of action.
  2. Affirmative defense Number Two;  Matt Scott suffered no injury or re-injury as a result of playing two more downs before being removed from the game. 
  3. Affirmative defense Number Three; Matt Scott's Twitter account features him laughing at the notion that he suffered a concussion;
  4. Affirmative defense Number Four; Matt Scott signs a release and a waiver of liability for any injury occurring while playing football.  His original injury, if there was any, was not the result of any "malpractice," other than a USC personal foul.  Scott had no second injury.  The helmet that Scott wears has a warning on it indicating that it cannot prevent injury in any case.


October 30th, 2012 at 11:55 AM ^

The following NCAA publication, specifically pages 53 to 58, outlines the NCAA gudelines on traumatic brain injury.  It is loaded with weasel words and phrases such as "should" and "it is suggested."  However, on page 54, you may learn that "In April 2010, the NCAA Executive Committee adopted a policy that requires NCAA institutions to have a concussion management plan on file."

On page 56, the policy requiring institutional concussion management plans appears at the bottom.



Section 1

October 30th, 2012 at 12:43 PM ^

What a close call it really may have been.

Was there an NCAA policy that was clearly violated in this case?  No.  There is an NCAA Concussion Management Plan that requires member institutions to form their own plans.  So we are no longer talking about an NCAA policy at all, but rather an Arizona Wildcats plan, that would have been in accordance with an NCAA directive.

Was there a bright-line test on vomiting, that was somehow violated or overlooked on the part of Arizona coaches?  We (and Dan Diamond) can't sayabsent a reading of the Arizona plan.

Is there some sort of NCAA sanction, that we should be concerned that Rodriguez and/or Arizona might weasel out of?  None whatsoever.  The NCAA requires an institutional plan.  It is not aimed at specific cases.

Let's review.  This thread, and the Dan Diamond Forbes.com item, began with the premise that an NCAA policy had been violated.  That appears to be clearly and specifically untrue.



October 30th, 2012 at 3:40 PM ^


Section 1's picture
Joined: 06/29/2009
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There is no test that I know of, that would trump the medical history of having been knocked unconscious by a blow to the head.

I do not care what sideline medical test anybody imagines.  Examination of the eyes; getting the player to identify time, place and person; having him follow a pointed finger; other standard neurological tests. 

None of it trumps the history of having been knocked out cold, and the apparent loss of consciousness for nearly a minute.

The standard protocol is that a player with a confirmed or suspected consussion should not be returned to play the same day.  Period.  Full stop.  Having clearly and obviously lost consciousness after a clear hit to the head, Gholston had, at a minimum a suspected concussion, and almost certainly a real concussion.  There is no explainable reason by which any sideline "testing" would have trumped the history of having lost consciousness.







Self-edited.  By me.

I'm all for making fun of Will Gholston, one of the most troubling football players in the conference, and the anti-hero of last year's UM-MSU YouTube Film Festival.

But I saw some of the ugliness in the comments above, and just for my own sake I decided that the business of Gholston's probably-ignored concussion is a very serious matter; for the MSU staff as well as Gholston.  So I edited my earlier snark.

There are very big questions now outstanding for Dantonio:  Did Will Gholston lose consciousness after the hit from his teammate in tackling Braxton Miller?  If Gholston did not lose consciousness, what exactly are we seeing on the video of that play?  How else to explain it, other than a helmet-to-helmet hit that knocked him out?  Is there any explanation as to why Gholston went back in to the game?  If the medical staff ruled out a concussion, as well as the possibility of a concussion, how did they do that?  Describe exactly, and tell us who it was who made the decision to clear him to play?



Section 1

October 30th, 2012 at 4:23 PM ^

I saw no evidence, or suspicion, that Matt Scott lost consciousness, as did Gholston.

Matt Scott himself laughed off the notion that he had a concussion; although he clearly was tested (we saw it happening) on the sideline and was thereafter held out.  Scott said, with confirmation from many others, that his stomach is just one that tosses its cookies fairly regularly in practices and games.  (I do understand that Gholston also claimed he was okay.)

Really, there is only one question with Matt Scott and that is, whether he should have been left in to play two more plays while a scoring drive was underway, before being sat down for the day.

In the fog of war, the heat of battle, it may be that Scott should have been held out for those two plays.  An earlier examination might have been done.

But again, there is little comparison with Gholston, who inexplicably went back in after (whatever) examination and played the rest of the day.

But I'm not going to convince you of anything, nor will you convince me of anything.  The really odd thing is that we root for the same team most of the time.

I stand by each and every word that I wrote before, as well as each and every word I have written about AZ-USC.  You're not making a very effective case on your own, and your using my words is not helping you sell it.


October 30th, 2012 at 8:20 PM ^

Just to show everyone else how you change your position to promote your agenda bias.

You have two guys who showed concussion symptom; both deny they had one. In one case you believe everything they tell you; in the other you have demands and questions to be answered. I would just expect a list of questions for each if it was accountability driven and not agenda driven.

And we don't primarily root for the same team. I root for Michigan. You root for Arizona. As your poorly hidden glee on Saturday that Arizona won on a day Michigan lost illustrated.

Section 1

November 1st, 2012 at 1:00 AM ^

...is likely to make me happy.

Does Arizona winning count in this equation?  Or are you just going to make it up as you go? Because it is getting rather complicated.  What happens if Michigan State wins?  What if both MSU and OSU win, but Notre Dame loses?  What level of glee is allowed?



October 30th, 2012 at 8:20 AM ^

I read that article yesterday.  It's a hit piece full of misinformation and half-truths.  One example is the "puking multiple times"  myth.  He puked on the field, then used water on the sidelines to wash his mouth out and spit it out.  He wasn't continuously vomiting.  Using words like "devastating"  when describing the hit is a sign that somebody has an agenda.  

Regardless, they went over this in their presser yesterday.  It was 95+ on the field, Scott said he has thrown up before when running a lot in those type of conditions, was nauseous all day, etc.  What really matters is that he was ultimately found to not have a concussion anyway.  He practiced yesterday.  LOL @ the hyperbolic "obviously the handling of this will have consequences for all of college football" nonsense.  Next time you should do a little research before taking Rosenberg Jr. at face value.  


"“I really don’t think I had a concussion,” he said. “I got winded, honestly — that’s why I threw up.”

What sounds like an excuse comes with some context.

Scott is famous among his teammates for throwing up during hot practices or while running sprints. The quarterback said he felt nauseous three or four plays before taking the hit Saturday but managed to keep his breakfast down.

“But eventually,” he said, “it came up.”"

Smash Lampjaw

October 30th, 2012 at 9:15 AM ^

I'll admit that I love me some RR, but I watched this all unfold and I have no justification for it. I did not see him throw up, but I saw that he was shaken after the helmet to the head (not a kick, I don't think). Even if Rich missed it, someone on the sideline must have seen it. Play was stopped because there was a penalty for the illegal hit. There was time for some evaluation. The problem is that it was critical to finish the drive and score the touchdown. I do not think they could have won without Matt scoring that final touchdown. And of course, it was a critical game against USC. I, too, am disappoint.

Conversely, I have not admired Brian Kelly, but I cannot think of a better example of good policy than when he sat out Golson for an extra week after his injury with their undefeated season on the line.

edit: I am glad to see in the comment from cbus above that there was no concussion. It still would have been a reassuring demonstration of judgment to see him put the safety of his players above winning the most important (to him) game in years. 

Blue in Yarmouth

October 30th, 2012 at 10:17 AM ^

didn't he get pulled the next series? A player who is 21 and the medical staff say he is ok (and iin the aftermath it is determined he did NOT have a concussion) and the coach is supposed to pull him anyway? What planet do you people live on? This is beyond a joke and the one constant seems to be that RR has no friends in the press. 

Smash Lampjaw

October 30th, 2012 at 11:41 AM ^

It is a little more subtle than that, and I have never uttered a word of criticism for him before. After the clutch td, they took the time to examine him more thoroughly, and then they did bench him. I don't know what they saw that led them to do that, but I would have preferred that they took the time to do that before he went back in. I am happy that it all worked out for Matt and Rich, but if he had a concussion from the first blow, and got hit in the head again it could have been disastrous for both of them. 

Rich has two issues to be working on: showing that he can win, and showing that he has good character. (I am not saying he has bad character. It annoys me that others have questioned that.) Now, I believe he can do both, and this was the perfect chance to demonstrate it to everyone else.

I do not like the article, and I agree he seems to have no friends in the press. As a fan of his I had these questions myself as I watched it.

Blue in Yarmouth

October 30th, 2012 at 2:19 PM ^

I wasn't referring to you bashing RR I was refering to the media. The important things in this scenario are this (as I see them):

1) After the hit the staff took some time to evaluate the kid.

2) when they weren't positive, they called a time out to further evaulate him.

3) subsequently a tv timeout was called following the AZ timeout giving them even more time to evaluate the player.

4) Some AZ boards have been mentioning that he was "nauseated" pre-game as a result of an stomach issue.

5) after all the evaluation the player and medical staff agreed he was fine to return to action.

Honestly, given that information and the context of the situation (being able to upset USC) what coach in the NCAA would sit their player? If this was what happened to Denard and the situations were exactly reversed, as a Doctor I would be pissed if Hoke sat him.

I would also offer this possibility:

Following the drive they sat the QB, which seems to be a bit of a bone of contention for some. What if the hit caused an already nauseated individual to become further nauseated? Sinice there was no concussion and given the context of the game the QB decided he wanted to tough it out and go for the win, knowing it was something that had been bothering him all game. But after the drive ended and they had the lead, perhaps the nausea got worse, or the context of the situation improved to such a degree that he fealt he would take the next series off (and the remainder of the game) unless they really needed him? Would that change the perception of those who are getting so freaked out by this?

I am only asking because I think it is about time someone offered an opinion on this board other than RR is a jackass who wants to injure players. He didn't show any indication of that here.

lexus larry

October 30th, 2012 at 2:33 PM ^

Seems like it could have been dehydration as well, if someone is sickly, yaks on the field, etc.

Mountain out of a molehill.  If he's saying he wasn't concussed, the doctors are letting him practice Monday or today, then, was he concussed?  It would be quite a stretch to say he was concussed Saturday evening, but well enough to practice yesterday or today.


October 30th, 2012 at 8:25 AM ^

I was watching Saturday and was wondering why he didn't take Scott out for a concussion test after he was clearly throwing up on the sideline and was dazed out on the field. It's rediculous how with all the information we have now with concussions that a head coach would still keep said player in the game after sustaining a hit like that. NCAA needs to take a look at this...


October 30th, 2012 at 12:24 PM ^

If it was necessarily precautionary after they scored the TD, it certainly would have been before they scored the TD.

As I said in the open thread when it happened I'd be more disappointed because I don't expect much from Dantonio. His track record has me expecting better of Rich in that situation.  So I'm not sure 2010 works for him.

Now as was said below, if people want to give him the benefit of the doubt because of that track record, I'm actually ok with that. I'm not sure what "putting injured players in" track record Dantonio has had; or if we're just holding it against him that his players seem to go from legal trouble to the practice field, play dirty, and he's an ass. But I've never seen anything that leads me to believe he doesn't care for his players. Up to that point, anyway. 

So yeah, if someone wants to say "I trust Rich, but not Dantonio", that's fine.  But at least acknowledge then that he might have made a mistake by letting him go back in and play. As I said, not nefariously, just a bad call in the heat of the moment.  Because Dantonio hasn't shown he'll put hurt players in anyway, and we got the same "he had the wind knocked out of him" reasons from staff that sounds a lot like "he pukes all the time." So maybe Michigan State wasn't just making stuff up either. (And I didn't think they should have put him back in either)


October 30th, 2012 at 3:37 PM ^

I'm not dodging anything and you need to stop being so damned certain that somebody did something wrong.

"But Arizona officials insist that the critics got it wrong. In an interview with Inside Higher Ed on Monday, Arizona's athletics director, Greg Byrne, insisted that there was no evidence that Scott had suffered a concussion from the hits to the head. And as logical as it might have been for the announcers (and others) to attribute Scott's vomiting to head trauma, Byrne said, the player had in fact been complaining before the game of nausea, as he often does on game days.

In the timeout that followed the play on which Scott was injured, Arizona's head trainer observed the quarterback as he spoke to Rodriguez, and "there were no deficiencies identified through the observation" to suggest a concussion, Byrne said. (Byrne said that tape of the broadcast shows the trainer listening as the coach and player talk.) Scott returned to the field and after one play, Arizona called another timeout during which medical employees observed him again. And again, Byrne said, "there were no signs" to suggest a concussion.

After the touchdown, medical employees "continued to observe Matt," and as a "precaution," opted to withhold him from the rest of the game, Byrne said. Tests of Scott on Sunday and Monday offered no evidence of a concussion.

As for the vomiting that game announcers understandably viewed as signs that Scott had suffered a concussion, Byrne said: "We had knowledge of Matt being nauseous throughout the day." Byrne said that Scott frequently suffers from nausea when he exerts himself intensely.

Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/10/30/arizona-officials-say-player-did-not-suffer-concussion#ixzz2AoL41nPN 
Inside Higher Ed





November 17th, 2012 at 11:09 PM ^

And Matt Scott has puked on the field multiple times on their last couple drives tonight.  He's just standing there between plays puking, then taking the snap lol.  The announcers said they were told by Arizona's sports information director that this is something he has always dealt with.  Imagine that.   


October 30th, 2012 at 8:28 AM ^

to keep Scott in the game for the drive at the end of the game after USC's touchdown when they needed first downs?  That was absolutely a critical series-- and they pulled Scott after doing a more careful evaluation of him.  They managed to pick up a first down or two anyway, but there chances of winning would have been dramatically increased if they had the threat of a QB run or even a throw (they didn't when the backup came in-- think Russell Bellomy but slower).  

That certainly wouldn't have happened at MSU.  Scott goes right back in to close the game.


October 30th, 2012 at 8:32 AM ^

Since the link started with an ad, I won't watch it.

White Lightening does not even remember playing for Michigan. Where was the outrage then?

Concussion evaluation is always somewhat subjective. As is, the criteria for declaring a player unfit for play seem too loose.

I have a nd idea:

Put sensors in their helmets. If the recorded impact exceeds a certain number, they are out for the rest of the game.

I'm going to patent it, and make a fortune.