Tag Archives: NCAA

NCAA Targeted Again on Concussion Issue

Ramogi Huma, president of the National College Players Association (NCPA), an advocacy group comprised of more than 17,000 current and former college athletes, said last week that NCAA football has “chosen to focus on a playoff payday,” instead of “players’ brains.”

Huma said that “the NCAA and conference commissioners are doing nothing to reduce the risk of serious brain trauma that these and other football players face each time they suit up.  There are ways to minimize health risks associated with concussions.”

The NCPA Players Council, a steering committee comprised of current and former FBS football players, developed the Concussion Awareness and Reduction Emergency (CARE) Plan to reduce the risk of brain trauma, and provide much needed research and support for former college athletes participating in contact sports.

“Our plan can help protect players’ long-term health,” said Rashard Hall, a member of the NCPA’s Players Council who recently played his final football game for Clemson. “There should be no higher priority for NCAA football.”

The NCPA claimed that “there have been no visible reform efforts since Owen Thomas committed suicide while playing football for Penn in 2010. A postmortem examination revealed that he had CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease caused by repetitive brain trauma.  A number of former NFL players who unexpectedly committed suicide were also found to have had CTE.”

The association further maintained that, other than the PAC-12 Conference, “all FBS conferences and the NCAA have ignored the NCPA’s request to discuss the CARE Plan.”

Said Huma: “While we see movement on concussion reform in the NFL and Pop Warner football, NCAA football has been asleep at the wheel.  Those who run college football seem to be running from this serious issue.”

The NCPA CARE Plan recommends the following:

1. Reduce contact during practices.

2. Require independent concussion experts to be present during competitions.

3. Freeze the maximum number of regular season games.

4. Long-term monitoring and data collection of former college athletes that have participated in contact sports.

5. Support for former college athletes suffering from degenerative brain conditions associated with participation in college athletics.

6. Warn student-athletes in contact sports about CTE and degenerative brain conditions associated with contact sports as called for by the Sports Legacy Institute.


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SEC’s Power Broker Talks Concussions

This is the time of year when the national media reaches out to Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive to discuss the state of the country’s most powerful football conference.

Given the particularly physical brand of football played in the SEC, it is not surprising that concussions was a prime topic.

Slive told the Gainesville Sun earlier this week that “we’ve taken a hard position during the season. We’ve suspended two players for full games for hits that we felt were dangerous, hits to the head. Coaches have been sensitive to that issue. What people forget is it’s just as dangerous to the hitter as it is to the hitee. We’re all sensitive and conscious of it. It’s an important area for us.”

Slive added that he relied upon NCAA Rule 9-1-4, which states a player can’t target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, elbow or shoulder, for justification for his decisions.

“There’s always an argument on the other side, but the league has given us the authority,” he said. “The NCAA rules mandate when there is a hit of that nature, conference review, and once we do that, we have to make decisions.”

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Article Assails NCAA over Concussion Policy

The Internet news portal Slate has published an article that assails the NCAA over its lack of a blanket concussion policy, noting that the association leaves it up to its member institutions for legal reasons.

The lack of an “NCAA concussion protocol” is an “ambiguity (that) is by design,” according to the article. “In order to remain legally blameless, the association can’t involve itself too closely in the health of the athletes. That’s why the job of devising a response to head injuries is left to the schools themselves. As a consequence, when football programs obfuscate what exactly happened to a woozy-looking quarterback, there’s no one—not the local beat writer, and most certainly not an NCAA investigator—to hold them to account.”

The article went on to site the 2011-12 NCAA Compliance Manual, which underpins the policy:  “An active member institution shall have a concussion management plan for its student-athletes,” which must include a “process that ensures a student-athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion shall be removed from athletics activities … and evaluated by a medical staff member” and must “[preclude] a student-athlete diagnosed with a concussion from returning to athletics activity (e.g., competition, practice, conditioning sessions) for at least the remainder of that calendar day.”

Paul D. Anderson, the editor of Concussion Litigation Reporter, gives credence in the article to the supposition that the NCAA’s “hands-off approach to concussion protocols is a calculated legal maneuver.” Said Anderson: “The NCAA doesn’t want to be seen as the entity responsible for taking care of the student-athletes.”

To see the full article, visit: http://slate.me/YKEyRV

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