Huffgate in Pasadena

In the second quarter of the Rose Bowl, Oregon wide receiver, Josh Huff, was hit in the head while attempting to make a catch.  He tried to get to his feet, then fell back down.  He was attended to by Oregon’s medical staff on field.  When he rose to his feet it was VERY CLEAR to those watching he had balance disturbance.  He could hardly open his eyes and squinted and grabbed his nose.  As he was walking off the field his “straight line” to the sideline looked more like someone who had too many to drink a few nights ago.  (here is the video and take from SB Nation), from SB Nation as well;

He tried to stand up, staggered his steps, then fell back down again. Huff is one of the best receivers Oregon has, at a position where the Ducks are already thin on the depth chart.

He was removed for the remainder of the half.  After the extended half time the “sideline princess” of ESPN, Erin Andrews notified all of us watching that Huff “only had his bell rung” and was going to return in the second half.


“Bell rung” = Concussion

Balance disturbance = Concussion

Unsteady gait = Concussion

Tests are not needed at that point, it should have been clear-cut.  Player was hit in head, could not get to his feet immediately, then when he did he was unsteady – at best.  Test over, signs trump symptoms and especially since the player can lie his ass off and say he is fine.

This is an absolute abomination to NCAA concussion management, even if Oregon MD’s signed off on it.  Oh and these college guys are the ones that are in the booth of NFL games.

FWIW, I have only seen him on the field for one play in the second half, but it is early in the second half as I type this.

7 thoughts on “Huffgate in Pasadena

  1. Joe Bloggs January 2, 2012 / 19:22

    This is a surprise? The NCAA does not care because its legal defense is that it offers guidelines and that it is up to member schools follow those guidelines. I am sure he passed his ImPact and therefore was good to go. Since the NFL and NHL get away with this nonsense why shouldn’t the NCAA, NFHS and Pop Warner get away with it too.

    We all know it is a bunch of propellered headed nancies make a big deal out of nothing. I like things how they are now. We all got dings playing and look at me now. If someone develops a neruological problem years later who says it had anything to do with football. It was probably because he was a loser or had bad genetics or did PEDs or did drugs.

    This is just yet another example of the business being more important than the kids. Why use trainers when they might take a star off the field?

    This board has made many posts discussing the concerns of dedicated ATCs discussing the complexities of diagnosing and treating complex m-TBI cases but with examples like the NFL, NHL and the NCAA how is a trainer supposed to stand-up to a coach, administrators, looney parents and players.

    The coaches and schools will need to be held legally repsonsible for the long-term health effects on the players and then we will see change.

    • Dustin Fink January 2, 2012 / 21:01

      This board has made many posts discussing the concerns of dedicated ATCs discussing the complexities of diagnosing and treating complex m-TBI cases but with examples like the NFL, NHL and the NCAA how is a trainer supposed to stand-up to a coach, administrators, looney parents and players.


  2. Dr. Mike Gruttadauria January 2, 2012 / 19:25

    You would think that they are trying to create even tighter guidelines by the way they all talk. But in the end it seems that the athlete is expendable and the game is all that matters to some powers that be… Pathetic

  3. Dorothy Bedford January 3, 2012 / 09:54

    I have written the University of Oregon System Chancellor’s office to ask where complaints/comments about the Huffgate situation may be directed.

  4. BryanATC January 3, 2012 / 15:56

    I commented on a situation I watched happen during the Music City Bowl with Mississippi State’s Wade Bonner ( and then watching the Outback Bowl I watched a similar situation happen with Georgia strong safety Shawn Williams. He went in for a tackle and caught his helmet straight on to the Mich. St. player’s hip (Luckily it wasn’t a cervical fracture). Was in a very similar position to Huff, but managed to get himself standing. Even according to the announcers there was a delay as he “slowly took himself off the field, obviously a little ‘dinged up’…”. They then commented on the 3rd play after that where “Here comes Williams back onto the field obviously feeling ok”.

    We think that it’s tough for NFL medical personnel to remain objective? A big time College Football coach is more like the team owner than the coach when compared to the NFL.

    The NCAA better step up from recommendations/guidelines and mandate certain procedures.

    I can’t even imagine the pressure put on younger ATC’s by high school programs in states where the football team highers them directly.

  5. John Doherty January 3, 2012 / 17:26

    During the 2002 Indiana State Baseball semi-finals at Victory Field in Indianapolis, the lightning was getting closer and closer. There was an IHSAA administrator in our dugout & I had a SkyScan. I kept showing him the readings indicating the lightning was getting too close. Finally, he told me, “If this wasn’t such a big game, it would have been stopped already.”
    I replied, “I didn’t know lightning could tell the difference.”
    Not knowing what to say, he stomped out of the dugout. A moment later, it started to rain lightly and Indianapolis Indians officials insisted we leave the field for fear we would damage it!
    In short, the field was more important than the players.
    The overarching lessons here?
    Concussion can’t tell the difference either but emotion-susceptible human beings can.
    Consequently, safety first – except in the playoffs!

    • BryanATC January 3, 2012 / 18:03

      John, a side note when I first started at my school we had an approaching storm during practices and before I even said anything the Football coach (a gem among gems) looks at me and says “Just so you know, our lightning policy is that when I get hit we’ll clear the field.” Fun.

      But back to the Oregon game, at least he was kept out until the second half and at least in theory there was time to perform a full evaluation in the locker room away from everyone.

      I’m more appalled by the other situations (particularly the Miss St. one) because those players returned to the game less than 2 minutes of real time.

      Is it surprising that both of the other incidents I mentioned above involved captains of their respective defences? Not really.

      John, as you said, let’s be cautious… unless the game is really important, then we’ll probably cut corners.

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