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Crisis grows for Michigan football over handling of Morris concussion

Sep 30, 2014

Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A sports story out of Ann Arbor making headlines around the world.

Wolverine quarterback Shane Morris took a fierce blow to his head in Saturday's game with University of Minnesota.

He wobbled off the field, only to be sent back in.

That decision has ignited a firestorm of controversy.

Coach Brady Hoke stood firm at a regularly scheduled press conference yesterday. "We would never, ever, if we thought a guy had a concussion, keep him in the game. And we never have," Hoke said.

But then Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon released at 15-paragraph statement at 1 a.m. today. Brandon said, yes, Morris did suffer a concussion, as well as a high ankle sprain.

Sports reporters across the country are calling this a disaster on many levels, including Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon:

"Either they have no idea what the other guy is doing, or somebody is lying. Whenever you have a crisis, it always boils down to either the guy is incompetent, or he is corrupt. This time they are picking incompetent."

Bacon believes the question now is really when Hoke and Brandon will be gone.

"I can't imagine a scenario where these guys keep their jobs," says Bacon.

Late this afternoon, U of M President Mark Schlissel issued this statement:

As the leader of our university community, I want to express my extreme disappointment in the events surrounding the handling of an on-field injury to one of our football players, Shane Morris. The health and safety of our entire student community, including all of our student-athletes, is my most important responsibility as university president.

I have been in regular discussion regarding this incident and its aftermath with Athletic Director David Brandon and the Board of Regents. I support the immediate protocol changes that the department’s initial assessment has identified. I have instructed the Athletic Department to provide me, the Board of Regents, and other campus leaders 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. 

Despite having one of the finest levels of team medical expertise in the country, our system failed on Saturday. We did not get this right and for this I apologize to Shane, his family, his teammates, and the entire Michigan family.  It is a critical lesson to us about how vigilant and disciplined we must always be to ensure student-athlete safety. As president, I will take all necessary steps to make sure that occurs and to enforce the necessary accountability for our success in this regard.

Our communications going forward will be direct, transparent and timely. The University of Michigan stands for the highest level of excellence in everything we do, on and off the field.  That standard will guide my review of this situation and all the University’s future actions. 

 

 

* Listen to the full conversation with John U. Bacon above.