Category Archives: The Body Is A Temple

‘Listen, we don’t think it is smart for you to play football anymore.’

College football, a place where a school can remove a player from a team based on a history of concussions and (a) have coaches from several other schools begin recruiting the player for their programs and (b) face critical questioning from the player’s parents about the school not allowing further risk of head injuries to the player.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the strong guidance of the NCAA – you know, the people devoted to the well-being of the student-athlete.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association sets no limits on the number of permissible concussions. There’s no medical consensus on how many concussions pose an intolerable danger to athletes. And colleges, ever on the lookout for talent that will reap their teams wins and ticket sales, decide on their own when, or if, players should be medically disqualified.

In interviews with doctors and college officials, STAT found cases in which some players were permanently sidelined after three or four concussions, while others with as many as 10 concussions were allowed to still play…

There are about 70,000 college football players, and a 2014 report by the NCAA revealed that nearly 1 in 10 players reported suffering multiple concussions during their college career. Multiple concussions make athletes vulnerable to long-term brain damage from the head trauma.

The NCAA’s chief medical officer, Dr. Brian Hainline, said that in his own neurology practice, he has recommended that athletes stop playing, only to have them seek second or third opinions from doctors who disagree. “We are not at a place in society generally, and the NCAA in particular, to state that there is a universal bar that everyone must adhere to regarding ability to play,” he said.

Once college athletes are disqualified, they receive little guidance about what to do. Young men like the 19-year-old Long are left on their own to seek additional tests and evaluations by concussion experts — and to choose whether pursuing their dream of playing college football is worth jeopardizing their health.

“I was very confused,’’ Long said of the conflicting signals from Syracuse and other schools about whether he should play. “It all wasn’t making sense.’’

That’s exactly how a kid facing the potential threat of dementia should feel, right?

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Filed under The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

New faces at S&C

Seth Emerson has the news.

Kirby Smart is going in a new direction with Georgia’s strength and conditioning program.

Scott Sinclair, who had led Marshall’s strength and conditioning program since 2013, has been hired to take the same job at Georgia, someone familiar with the situation has confirmed.

Although there has been no official announcement, that almost certainly means that Mark Hocke has not been retained by Smart. Hocke just finished his first season as Georgia’s strength and conditioning coordinator after six years on the strength staff at Alabama.

The news was first reported by the website Football Scoop, which also reports that Smart is bringing along Ed Ellis, who has run the strength program at Central Florida.

The Sinclair rumor had been out there for a couple of days at least, so the ol’ rumor mill still has some chops.

Smart would certainly be familiar with Hocke, so the move is interesting in that regard.

Here’s Sinclair’s bio at the time he was hired at Marshall.

Sinclair comes to Marshall after nine years as an associate director of strength and conditioning at UCF, where he worked with the football program along with baseball and track & field. With the football program, he was directly responsible for the speed and agility programs in addition to the program’s administrative duties.

In May 2012, he was awarded the highest honor in his field when he was certified as a master strength and conditioning coach (MSCC) at the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association’s national conference. The title of master strength and conditioning coach represents professionalism, knowledge, experience, expertise as well as longevity in the field. He is also CPR/AED certified.

“I am very excited to be working with Coach Holliday and Marshall, a program that is rich in its history and tradition,” said Sinclair. “I look forward to training our guys from both a mental and a physical standpoint and helping them achieve greatness.”

Prior to UCF, he served as an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Georgia Tech from 2001-03. While with the Yellow Jackets, he worked as the assistant director of player development for the Yellow Jackets’ football squad.

Between him and Ellis, I guess you could say Smart’s impressed with O’Leary’s S&C regimen.  Take that for what it’s worth.

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UPDATE:  It sounds like Richt intends to get most of the band back together at Miami.

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Today, in duh

You mean poorly maintained playing fields could be a factor in players’ head injuries?  Who knew?

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“I just had to run away from him because he plays around too much.”

Nick Chubb’s with his teammates in Jacksonville this week, but it doesn’t sound like it’s all fun and games for him.

As Georgia began its first on-site TaxSlayer Bowl practice at the University of North Florida’s football field Monday morning, one notable member of the program stayed in the training room beneath the bleachers to further his rehab.

Georgia running back Nick Chubb made the trip to Jacksonville to be with his team and continue his recovery from a mid-season serious knee injury.

I’ve heard a variety of stories on Chubb’s progress, although the one constant is that he’s working his ass off in rehab.  If anyone deserves a full recovery based on sheer effort, it’s Nick Chubb.

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UPDATE:  This sounds promising.

Georgia held its second on-site bowl practice on Tuesday, but the most intriguing sight came afterward, from a player who wasn’t participating.

Nick Chubb was walking without crutches or a boot, something that hasn’t been seen, at least by the media. As recently as two weeks ago at the team’s senior gala Chubb was using crutches. He did appear to be wearing a brace, but that was it.

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Stage parents are the worst.

I think appalling is the word I’m looking for here.

That’s certainly the case surrounding Shawn Nieto, the starting running back for Cleveland High School in New Mexico. As reported by the Rio Rancho Observer and Albuquerque Journal, Nieto suffered an expected concussion in his team’s state semifinal victory against Mayfield; the injury was diagnosed by the team’s medical trainer after examining the running back. By state regulation, that concussion required Nieto to sit out for at least seven days, a term that made him ineligible for Cleveland’s state final against Eldorado.

Yet Nieto was allowed to play in the final game of his junior season because his parents filed a temporary restraining order in a local court, barring his school from implementing New Mexico House Bill 101, which establishes the state’s concussion protocol.

“Once our trainer (Jeff Archuleta) identified the concussion, I backed him 100 percent,” Rio Rancho athletic director Bruce Carver told the Observer. “The parents took it to court on Friday and got a TRO; the judge ruled he could play. We were given a court order that the district was not to interfere.

“Our superintendent and I agreed that a judge’s ruling over-rules a director’s director. We told (coach Heath Ridenour) to play Nieto if he wanted to … totally his decision.”

I have no idea if this kid’s talented enough to play college ball, but if I were a college coach, there is no way I’d touch him with a ten-foot pole.  His parents seem like real pips.

As it turns out, the court’s decision was predicated largely on a medical evaluation by Dr. Karen Ortiz, who saw Nieto three days after the semifinal game and found no direct proof of any head injury. However, in the days since that ruling was provided to the courts, Ortiz has rescinded her own opinion, citing a lack of prior information in ruling that Nieto could safely return to competition.

“Had I understood that there was a loss of consciousness, I would have never provided medical clearance,” Ortiz wrote to in a letter to Rio Rancho Public Schools and the NMAA. “Allowing Mr. Shawn Nieto to return to play at this time may result in a wide range of long-term neuropsychologic disorders as well as possible catastrophic brain injury, unfortunately.”

To withhold medical evidence so your child can play… you’ve got to be pretty fixated on his sporting career to do that.  Being a little sociopathic probably wouldn’t hurt, either.  Sheesh.

(h/t)

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“There’s no doubt that safety is maybe the issue of the day.”

Before you get all misty-eyed at the thought that the NCAA might finally be on its way to making sure that its amateur student-athletes have health-care coverage after they have finished their college careers, let’s remember that schools have to be prudent.  Or at least give lip service to being prudent.

Ohio State president Michael Drake joined Pastides in this view, saying: “It’s a complicated issue … but it’s certainly something that I’d like for us to be able to discuss and would think upon very favorably.”

Complicated = “before we do this, we’ve got to make sure we can still afford to keep spending money on shitty coaching contracts, bloated administrative staffs and unnecessary facilities”.

Maybe they’ll be able to pay for it with the next round of playoff expansion.  Sounds like the perfect opportunity to create a study group that’ll get back with recommendations in a few years…

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Filed under It's Just Bidness, The Body Is A Temple, The NCAA

Another reason to head to Senior Night

I figured this was coming.

Can’t say I blame him one bit.  Careerwise, there’s nothing he can get out of another season of college play that he couldn’t accomplish by going ahead and getting ready for the NFL draft as soon as this season’s over.

He’s been a damned good Dawg.  And that Tennessee game will always suck for robbing him of what should have been a much more productive college career.

Whatever may come for you, Keith, best of luck with it.

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