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U of M says changes will improve player safety

Oct 3, 2014

This week, the University of Michigan is taking precautions to avoid a repeat of the mistakes that allowed a Wolverine football player with a concussion to re-enter a game last week.

Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

U of M plans to have more eyes on the field during this weekend’s football game against Rutgers.

Last week, quarterback Shane Morris suffered a concussion late in the game against Minnesota. But while the television audience saw the hit that left Morris dazed, none of U of M's coaches or medical staff saw it or took action.

This week, U of M plans to have a certified athletic trainer watch the game from the press box. The university also plans to improve communication for the team’s medical staff. 

“We place the utmost importance on the safety and welfare of our student-athletes,” says Darryl Conway, associate athletic director for student-athlete health and welfare. “Our system failed quarterback Shane Morris last week. We never want that to happen again for a student-athlete. We are confident in the new measures.”

A U of M Athletic Department press release says the new player safety measures were developed in collaboration with the team’s certified athletic training staff and team physicians from the U of M Health System.

Head coach Brady Hoke and athletic director Dave Brandon have been criticized by sportswriters and fans for their handling of the concussion controversy.

At his news conference on Monday, Hoke told reporters he only knew that Shane Morris had suffered a high ankle sprain. The coach insisted he would never put a player back into a game after the player suffered head trauma.

Athletic director Dave Brandon confirmed Morris’ diagnosis of a "mild" concussion early Tuesday morning. 

Tuesday evening, hundreds of students marched on the Ann Arbor campus calling for Brandon and Hoke to be fired.

The university’s president has issued a statement expressing disappointment with the way Morris’ concussion was handled by the team and the athletic department.