This is what they never told recruits at Missouri, assuming the school even knew:
The strength and conditioning director lacked the proper certification to be hired. The sports medicine director basically did not know -- may still not know -- how to recognize athletes in distress afflicted with sickle cell trait.
In a stunning revelation, the AP reported Tuesday that the Missouri training staff was woefully unprepared and under-trained when Aaron O'Neal died during an offseason workout. How Pat Ivey, the strength and conditioning director, and Rex Sharp, the sports medicine director, are still employed is amazing.
Not only should they fired, their future in the profession should into question. Missouri paid $2 million to settle a lawsuit brought be O'Neal's parents. Part of the settlement, though, is that no blame be assigned by coach Gary Pinkel, AD Mike Alden, Sharp and Ivey.
The AP's fine reporting has taken care of that. Sharp and Ivey are directly to blame considering they unaware of how to handle O'Neal's symptoms which many now say resulted stress resulting from sickle cell trait.
If I'm Missouri's president, I fire Sharp and Ivey and conduct a review of the entire training and medical staff. Pinkel and Alden should at least get a letter of reprimand. The conditions were allowed to exist under Alden. Pinkel is part of a football culture that continues to wink at the "involuntary" offseason workouts.
Letters sent to players before the 2005 season by Pinkel were entered into the record during the trial. In an eery foreshadowing one of the letters stated, "You must be dying to be a great player ..."
There is no excuse for medical and athletic professionals to be ignorant to sickle cell trait. A seven-step series of guidelines distributed by the National Athletic Trainers' Association are followed by only a fraction of schools according to Oklahoma head trainer Scott Anderson. Anderson was co-chair of the NATA group that drafted the guidelines in 2007. He estimates that only half of schools even test for sickle cell.
This will all be interesting information for the parents of Ereck Plancher. They are suing Central Florida for the death of their son who had sickle cell trait. The school recently paid $60,000 for an independent study of its medical and training techniques. Central Florida then spent the next few days patting itself on the back for the self-examination.
One problem: Not once in the report's 24 pages does it mention sickle cell trait. In other words, the school spent all the money and did absolutely nothing to improve the odds that another Ereck Plancher wouldn't happen again.
We should pray that Missouri is the only training and medical staff in the country that was inadequately unprepared. Sadly, I don't think that's the case.