Last night in the #whateverthesponsoris Holiday Bowl, Jake Locker of the Washington Huskies took a hit, well actually three hits, to the head on a running play and in a matter of minutes he was up and ready to go. In fact, when watching the action unfold Locker simply was helped to the sideline, sat down and didn’t talk to the medical staff, grabbed a helmet and stood there waiting to get back in.
If I am going to call out my profession on Sundays then I think we should note how this was handled and make adjustments in the future.
Situation (if you have seen it on TV bear with me), video via ESPN.com highlights, :25 mark of highlight;
Locker is running up field when he puts his head down and lunges for more yards. As this is happening, he gets hit from seemingly every angle. In regards to his head; a
shoulder elbow first makes contact with it, then a knee helmet, then the ground. His head was twisted, snapped back and thudded to the ground in about one second. He then lay MOTIONLESS on the field as the medical staff arrived. Clearly to a trained observer he either had loss of consciousness, or at the very least, loss of motor function for that moment.
We all know, or should know, that a concussion is defined at its basic level as a disruption of normal brain function. Either losing consciousness or motor control would fit that criteria, no?
After the on-field evaluation that seemed thorough, Locker was helped from the game to the sidelines, then to the bench, where as we noted above he did not stay long.
After he was back in the game the medical staff reported on the “issue” and why he was cleared to return. Obviously they could not say he passed any sort of concussion test, because he didn’t take a sideline one. However with the awareness of head injuries there had to be a reason a seemingly knocked out player was being allowed to continue, so we received this information;
Washington medical staff reported that Locker’s helmet pushed his eyes close and he couldn’t open them.
Locker has had a history of head injuries as well, just look at YouTube some time, all factors in this entire situation.
Granted I was not there to know exactly what was happening, but to me it looked like a player had sustained a head injury due to mechanism of injury and presentation. Both of which I use to make decisions, heck we are schooled on that, why do we take so many physics, biomechanics, kinesiology classes? After the head injury, the athletic trainers and doctors did not protect Locker from himself in this situation. There is a possibility that at the half, they did do a proper evaluation, however at the time on national TV, it looked as though the player was making the decision. That should not happen. Grab him, take his helmet from him, tell the coach under no circumstance can he return until he passed the evaluation, SOMETHING. Then to give that BS excuse of a helmet pushing his eyes closed, give me a break! Say nothing, heck throw the player under the bus, we are trying to fight a cause here, and actions like this make people scratch their heads.
We all learn from mistakes, that is about the only way we can learn, so let us use this as an example of what not to do.