9.15.2010

Exhibit 27.4

Concussed

I watched the ND-Michigan game live, and Dayne Crist coming back into the game with an obvious concussion was borderline criminal. And now there's this characteristically nonjudgmental report from the AP about how they only pulled him when he couldn't remember plays or hold a conversation with his offensive coordinator. His concussion then healed itself by watching his team struggle and so they put him back in the game. How does the AP acquire this information without getting Brian Kelly to comment on the fact that he put his quarterback at risk in order to win a meaningless game between non-contending teams?

[Update: the previous AP article has been updated with quotes from the parties involved. It makes none of this sound better to say the least. I guess the blurry vision, memory loss, and general non-personhood that followed a viscous hit was somehow not a sign of brain trauma. Here's the thing, team doctors let him play football, but would they have let him take a nap?]

Look, I don't care how much Joe Montana's kid sucks--a lot, it turns out--putting Crist back out there should lead to NCAA sanctions. Ideally, it would give the team the right to void Kelly's contract. I know he's not a doctor--neither am I, incidentally--but there's no way he should have heard the sentence, "I can't remember the plays." and even entertained the possibility of putting that player back in the game. I don't care what the doctor said. I don't care what Crist wanted. This was Kelly's call, and his own career was more important than the lifelong-health of a 20-year-old.

I'm going to go all sportstalk radio here: I don't understand why this isn't a scandal. How many stories about brain trauma does Alan Schwarz at the New York Times have to write before this gets taken seriously? Thankfully, the NFL is trying--though not enough--and at least there we're dealing with adults, many of whom are millionaires. This concussion thing is just one more way college football is an increasingly perverted institution where money and self-importance take precedent over the student-athlete. We've accepted the wink-wink 'student' part of that formulation for many, but if universities are going to continue to take advantage of these kids, at least they can take care of them.

Do Brian Kelly and Notre Dame care about anything other than the money and glory they can wring from Crist for four years? Kelly thinks these games are about his career and the university thinks they're about their reputation--why shouldn't they when they're getting all the money?--and so Crist is just a tool, one who will be replaced when he graduates or doesn't graduate or gets seriously injured. For four years he depends on the university for everything, and the least he should receive in return is his own safety.

Because after those four years, he gets nothing.

I don't know. I don't have any answers but, like many, think it's time coaches and universities and fans regain some perspective.

< /sportstalkradio >

5 comments:

Anders Peterson said...

does your brother still have that radio show (i'm not making that up, am i?)? if so, i think you'd be a welcome addition. well put, amigo.

Pete said...

The only thing I got out of this was that Dayne Crist is a tool. Which makes me wonder why the rest of the words were there...he's a Notre Dame QB so it's implied.

Pete said...

Jokes. I basically agree with you here. Maybe not about the Brian Kelly's contract being voided stuff, but it's just another example of these guys being treated as pawns under the guise of amateur status. It's awful.

A. Peterson said...

Yeah, I guess I'm not saying ND should void Kelly's contract--and certainly they wouldn't--but I don't know what else you could threaten coaches with in these situations. Fines would just be paid by either the school or boosters. Suspensions? I don't know.

It's telling there are innumerable ways to discipline the players and almost no way to discipline coaches, doctors, etc.

Ryan said...

Interesting to take a look, and actually witness the NFL slowly adopting the policies that you (and many of us) wish the would.

If you caught any of the Bears-Cowboys game last weekend, after TE Jason Witten got his noggin clocked against the turf by a couple of Bears, he was subsequently taken out of the game. I'm not sure whether or not he had a concussion (some research could determine this, but laziness trumps google), but he was livid on the sideline. After being evaluated, and deemed unfit to return to the game due to the head injury, he was throwing a hissy fit to anyone that would listen. Granted one does appreciate a player so bent on getting back into a game when his team desperately needs him, but I have much more appreciation for the coaching staff. They kept Witten out. Whether it be due to the fact you mentioned (that the Cowboys have invested millions of dollars in his brain) or that they actually cared about Witten's well being as a human, not a commodity; it was semi-reassuring.