The Big Ten is taking the next steps in enhancing the way concussions are handled throughout its conference. New measures adopted by the Big Ten Council of Presidents/Chancellors on Monday aim to improve the protocols in place for concussions. Among the plans for the Big Ten is to set a conference-wide standard for concussion treatment.
In addition to forming conference-wide standards, the Big Ten also require members to add an independent neutral athletic trainer in the replay booth of football games. These independent trainers will be given the authority to contact officials on the field of play if they believe a player on the field may be at risk of concussions problems. This neutral trainer will not be associated with either team in a game, and will not serve as a replacement for any medical staff or trainers already on a school’s staff on the sideline, but having an extra set of eyes can be handy in some cases, even if from a great distance.
Earlier in the season Michigan was put in some hot water for the way an injury to quarterback Shane Morris was handled. Now former head coach Brady Hoke took the blunt of the criticism for not knowing the extent of the injury to Morris, but the training staff ultimately was thrown under a microscope for allowing Morris to return to the game shortly after being removed due to injury. Having an independent trainer with the authority to contact game officials is designed to prevent something like this from happening again.
With the information available regarding head trauma today and the speed and physicality of the sport itself continuing to grow, taking action to protect the health of the student-athletes has never been more vital to the sport of college football.