Category Archives: The Body Is A Temple

You never want to hear the words “could be ready to go by the start of August practice”.

Justin Scott-Wesley goes under the knife.  This is not a welcomed development, to say the least.

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UPDATE:  Okay, man.

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Filed under Georgia Football, The Body Is A Temple

The Pac-12’s big maybe

Boy, if there was ever a “devil is in the details” proposal, this is it.

The Pac-12 is believed to be the first conference to direct schools to pay post-college medical costs for sports-related injuries that an athlete suffered at their school. What eligibility criteria is used by Pac-12 schools will help determine how much help former athletes receive and at what costs without people abusing the benefit. The new practice could also set a blueprint for the NCAA or other conferences to follow or avoid.

Pac-12 schools must provide direct medical expenses for at least four years following the athlete’s graduation or separation from the university, or until the athlete turns 26 years old, whichever occurs first. The timeframe for coverage was chosen in part because by the age of 26 a person is covered by the Affordable Care Act.

There’s a “but” coming, I can feel it.

Each school will establish its own policies and procedures to determine who is eligible for the benefit. The conference office has no role in oversight, leaving Pac-12 schools to figure out the best approach.

Let the head scratching commence.

“It’s going to be hard to calculate,” Washington athletic director Scott Woodward said. “When was the injury created? How will we do it? We want to do the right thing and try to help out, and wherever it lands I’m going to support it. But I’m not sure right now what that is.”

The Pac-12 bylaw states that a school’s policies to determine eligibility “may include the required disclosure of pre-existing conditions not related to participation in intercollegiate athletics, mandatory reporting of injuries suffered during athletics participation at the institution, required participation in an exit physical upon graduation or separation from the institution, and other criteria that an institution deems appropriate.” In other words, Pac-12 schools are on their own to figure this out.

“It’s such a difficult thing to wrap your head around because what’s continuation of a problem and what’s a new problem?” Arizona athletic trainer Randy Cohen said. “How do you handle people who continue to do activities and maybe you recommend they don’t continue doing that? We really want to take care of these kids. But at what point is it the risk of playing sports and having injuries versus we hurt you?”

Most likely, Pac-12 schools will use exit medical evaluations of players to determine eligibility and buy insurance policies that carry stipulations, such as for in-network and out-of-network coverage. However, Cohen said finding insurance to cover an injury for four years out is difficult because most providers want a condition treated within two years. Cohen said Arizona will likely add four years to its insurance plan at a cost of a couple hundred thousand dollars a year, and require that for athletes to have costs covered they show a preexisting injury, undergo a departing physical when leaving the college, and demonstrate they followed recommendations for their health.

Cohen, who chairs the college committee for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association, rattles off potential challenges to managing the Pac-12 rule. What if an ex-player elects for surgery against the wishes of medical experts who say surgery will only make the injury worse? Is the school responsible for that surgery and if the injury worsens? Does the university get portrayed as the bad guy in the media if the former player tells the public the school wouldn’t pay its costs?

How should caring for mental health related to concussions be treated? If a school agrees with research that shows hits to the head can cause long-term brain damage, that degenerative process might not occur until after the Pac-12’s four-year window. So should there be payments to the athlete if dementia occurs 20 years later?

What if a gymnast tore an ACL in college that leaves her with an arthritic knee, she runs marathons two years later, and tells the school her knee is bothering her and needs to be treated? Then what if a 225-pound football player left college saying his knee felt fine, blew up to 300 pounds after his career ended and has a bad knee while mainly sitting on the couch?

“Do I not take care of the girl when she’s exercising and making it worse, but I take care of the guy who’s doing absolutely nothing and gaining 75 pounds?” Cohen asked. “Most people logically would say if you’re doing something that aggregates the knee, don’t pay them. But on the other end, if the guy does nothing to help his knee, how do I balance those two? We don’t want to encourage people not to have active lives after they’ve stopped playing. I don’t have an answer to that.”

At some point in time, you figure these guys are just gonna throw up their hands and decide it’ll be easier to deal with a players’ union.

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Filed under Look For The Union Label, Pac-12 Football, The Body Is A Temple

Friday morning buffet

Grab a plate and get in line.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Pac-12 Football, Recruiting, SEC Football, See You In Court, Stats Geek!, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

Wednesday morning buffet

Get you some.

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Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness, Recruiting, Science Marches Onward, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics, The Body Is A Temple, What's Bet In Vegas Stays In Vegas

The Brady Hoke Rule

You may have heard that the SEC did pass one very sensible rule yesterday requiring the placement of a conference-selected observer in each press box watching for players who seem to have suffered head injuries.  Andy Staples has some of the details:

“It will be someone that the conference puts there, not the institution,” Slive said. “It will give us another check if, on the field, a team doesn’t see that a player sustained a head injury.” Those observers, who will either be physicians or certified athletic trainers, will have open lines of communication to the teams’ sidelines. They’ll also have the ability to alert the officiating crew. If the player with the apparent head injury looks like he’s staying on the field for the next play, the observer can use the replay official’s equipment to alert the referee, who will then stop play until the player is taken off the field to be evaluated. Even if the player is OK, he must miss the next play or his coach must call timeout to get him back on the field.

None of the coaches objected.  (Given the safety bullshit Saban and Bielema argued last year in proposing the 10-second substitution rule, it would have been hypocritical to the max for them to have uttered a peep about this now.)  Some of that may have been due to Slive’s sales pitch.

It may be a sign of how critical this issue is to the future of the game that SEC coaches—the freakiest of control freaks—offered no resistance to the policy. “None of our coaches had a problem with that,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said. It probably helped that when presenting the policy, SEC officials showed footage of Michigan quarterback Shane Morris taking a vicious shot to the head against Minnesota last season and staying in the game. Morris was in obvious distress, but he waved off help from the sideline. Later, then-Michigan coach Brady Hoke would say no one on the sideline or in the coaches’ booth realized Morris might have suffered a head injury.

Helluva legacy you’ve left, Brady.

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Filed under SEC Football, The Body Is A Temple

S & C news I didn’t expect to hear.

Jeebus, I didn’t know Nick Chubb had eight pounds to lose.

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“Well, why is that a bad thing?”

Wisconsin football team chef Sean Sommers slices sirloin in the Student Athlete Dining Hall. (Photo: Mary Langenfeld for USA TODAY Sports)

Feeding student-athletes, the next frontier in competition.

Eleven schools with major-conference football programs that submitted financial totals to USA TODAY Sports budgeted an average increase of nearly $600,000 for the new legislation, with numbers ranging from Nebraska, Wisconsin and USC on the higher end to Utah, Colorado and Oregon State on the lower end — the Buffaloes and Beavers have allotted an increase of $175,000 and $215,000 for the measure, respectively.

“That’s real money, and I understand that, but I’m all in favor of it,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “They were going to spend that money anyway. It wasn’t like they were taking that and $700,000 and sending it to the chemistry department. They were going to spend it on the locker room, or they were going to spend it on the video system.

“Spend it on kids. So they’re spending it to give kids better nutrition.”

You’ve come a long way from bagel spreads, baby.  This is Willie Williams‘ wet dream.

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Filed under Recruiting, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA