Michigan football coach Brady Hoke defended his handling of the Shane Morris situation a day after taking heavy criticism for letting the apparently injured quarterback stay in the game against Minnesota.
“Well, number one, we would never put a quarterback who was hurt (in there),” he said.
“He was medically cleared to go in on that play.”
After injuring his leg earlier in the game, Morris took a big hit to the head in the fourth quarter. Even though he was visibly dazed, he was allowed to play one more play before stumbling off the field. When the quarterback who replaced him lost his helmet two plays later, Morris again went back in the game. He was later carted off.
The ESPN announcer called the handling of Morris’ injury “appalling,” and people from around the college football world say he should have been taken out immediately and never reinserted.
Hoke explained why Morris kept playing with what looked like an injury. He said he went into the game for the second time because there was some confusion with whether he was allowed to call timeout (via Michigan’s athletic department website):
“Well, number one, we would never put a quarterback who was hurt (in there). That would never happen. As far as where we’re at with it, we usually don’t talk about injuries and stay away from them. But this has kind of become an issue to some degree, and Shane Morris has got a leg injury, and that’s why we pulled him from the game. We’ll see where he’s at.
“On the down where [quarterback Devin Gardner’s] helmet came off, there was a discussion about the timeout with the referee that I wanted to take to buy him back into the game. When I talked to the referee — because he kind of came to the sideline — and he said, ‘No.’ So, a couple seconds later the line judge comes up and says, ‘Now, you can buy a timeout.’ But by that time, Shane was already back in the football game.
“(Shane) was on the bench and (senior football athletic trainer) Paul Schmidt was looking at his leg, and (reserve quarterback) Russell (Bellomy) was there. Russell is signaling in, him and the other quarterbacks. And when Shane heard his name, the medical staff said, ‘Yeah, he can go.’ And he went out on the field. We’d never put a kid out there who wasn’t capable. He was medically cleared to go in on that play.”
Schools like Michigan aren’t required to report injuries. While it looked like Morris took a shot to the head (and his behaviour afterward was consistent with what we typically see with head injuries), it’s unknown if he suffered a concussion.
He had troubling standing up:
The school also released this statement, which seems to say Michigan followed the proper injury protocol:
“The safety of our student-athletes is always our top priority. We generally never discuss the specifics of a student-athlete’s medical care, but Shane Morris was removed from yesterday’s game against Minnesota after further aggravating an injury to his leg that he sustained earlier in the contest.
“He was evaluated by our experienced athletic trainers and team physicians, and we’re confident proper medical decisions were made. The University of Michigan has a distinguished group of Certified Athletic Trainers and team physicians who are responsible for determining whether or not a player is physically able to play.
“Our coaches have no influence or authority to make determinations if or when an injured player returns to competition. The health and welfare of our student-athletes is and will continue to be a top priority.”
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