Report: NCAA staffers were not on board with concussion policy

By Eye on College Football staff

In internal emails two NCAA staffers appeared to mock the concussion safety efforts of the organization, according to court documents filed late Friday in a lawsuit challenging the NCAA's handling of head injuries.

The Washington Times unearthed January 2010 emails the staffers wrote about David Klossner, the NCAA's director of health and safety.

“Dave is hot/heavy on the concussion stuff,” wrote Ty Halpin, the director of playing rules administration. “He's been trying to force our rules committees to put in rules that are not good — I think I've finally convinced him to calm down.”

“He reminds me of a cartoon character,” responded Nicole Bracken, the associate director of research.

“HA! I think you're right about that!” Halpin wrote.

CBSSports.com National NFL Insider Mike Freeman also looked through the more than 1,000 pages of documents and found that according to the NCAA's own injury-tracking data, 16,277 concussions were reported in football from 2004-2009.

With head injuries accounting for 11 percent of practice and five percent of game injuries, many college players likely are heading to the NFL with an already large number of concussions, Freeman wrote.

On Friday, hours before the filing, the NCAA announced a $399,999 donation to study the long-term impact of concussions.

“Student-athlete safety is one of the NCAA's foundational principles,” spokeswoman Stacey Osburn told the Associated Press. “The NCAA has been at the forefront of safety issues throughout its existence.”

But the Washington Times listed several disturbing finds from the court filing, including a 2009 email from a University of Georgia assistant football trainer.

“I personally have seen an athlete knocked unconscious and return in the same quarter in recent years,” Dean Crowell wrote in an email to Klossner.

Also, half the schools that responded to an internal NCAA survey released in 2010 didn't require a concussed athlete to see a doctor. Only 66 percent of schools used baseline testing.

 
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