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Opinion: Handling of Shane Morris’ injury shameful, embarrassing

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Michigan sophomore quarterback Shane Morris (7) hands the ball off during a game against Utah on Sept. 20 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. Michigan lost, 26-10. Credit: Courtesy of MCT

Michigan sophomore quarterback Shane Morris (7) hands the ball off during a game against Utah on Sept. 20 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich. Michigan lost, 26-10.
Credit: Courtesy of MCT

When you hear the word concussion, what comes to mind?

From someone who has played quarterback just at the high school and college club level for seven combined years, I can tell you any sort of hit to the head is as painful as it looks.

I do not want to speak for Michigan quarterback Shane Morris, but from the looks of his reactions immediately after the hit he took from Minnesota redshirt-junior defensive lineman Theiren Cockran, Morris was in significant pain — yet he stayed in the game. This decision has brought outrage upon the program and has warranted responses by the athletic director Dave Brandon and university president Mark S. Schlissel.

Not only was he left in the game, he was left susceptible to at a minimum one more hit as Michigan coach Brady Hoke let the sophomore quarterback attempt one more pass, which was nearly intercepted.

Hoke claimed after the game that he did not see the hit, which is why Morris was allowed to continue. Hoke also added that Morris is a tough kid and wanted to stay in the game, therefore, Hoke obliged.

There is something Hoke needs to understand, and that is there is a difference between playing hurt, and playing injured.

Football is without a doubt one of the most physical sports on the planet and it is inevitable that players will get bumps and bruises. As a football player, you are expected to play through it, as being sore comes with the job.

However, being hurt is not the same as being injured. Morris was clearly already playing hurt on what appeared to be a sore ankle, but following the blow from Cockran, it seemed apparent that Morris was injured.

Hoke, who has already been under fire for Michigan’s uncharacteristic 2-3 start to the season, is now fully in the fire, and rightfully so.

Whether it’s in fact Hoke’s job to know if a player is injured, he should care enough about his players that he wants to know immediately whether a player is injured or not.

Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said Monday that his training staff, along with his strength coach, are in charge of monitoring players constantly and added that he has a conversation on every series as to whether players are good to play.

So why then did Hoke not have a similar conversation with his training staff who he claims its job it is to monitor his players? Why was a wobbly, blatantly injured Morris allowed back into the game?

Even two days later, Hoke said he had no knowledge that Morris had suffered any sort of head injury and the only reason Morris had been held out of practice was because of an ankle injury.

Then, nearly 12 hours after that, at approximately 1 a.m., Brandon released a statement saying that Morris had in fact sustained a mild concussion on the play.

Yet Hoke still put Morris on the field, in a situation where he was free game for the Minnesota defense.

Now, as I write this, Michigan students are rallying on their campus, calling for the resignation of Brandon. One student, who has been all over social media has been wearing OSU gear in protest.

Morris and his family deserve better treatment than Hoke and his staff gave him Saturday at the Big House, and finally the school acknowledged that with Brandon’s early morning statement, followed by a statement from Schlissel.

Schlissel, the only one from Michigan who has made any sort of sense during this unfortunate situation, released a statement shortly before 6 p.m. Tuesday and said he has requested to be briefed with “a thorough review of our in-game player safety procedures, particularly those involving head injuries, and will involve experts from the University of Michigan Health System in assessing its medical aspects.”

Schlissel is just the latest Michigan figurehead to throw the man below him under the bus, and would have never been put in this situation had Hoke simply showed the slightest interest for the well-being of Morris.

No matter what your stance is as a fan, this is not a situation to laugh, smile or joke about. A young football player was put in a dangerous situation in which his well-being was, without question, put in jeopardy.

No one, including Hoke, is taking responsibility for what happened at the University of Michigan and someone needs to be held accountable.

 

One comment

  1. I hope that you would have taken Brian Kelly to task for the death of Declan Sullivan. That shameful incident in my eyes forever remains a shameful and damming blot on Notre Dame football. It is up to the UofM medical staff to keep an injured player from reentering the game. Brady hoke is in his last year at UofM. Lets not twist the knife, these things have a way of haunting one.

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