Tag:Case Keenum Concussion
Posted on: September 17, 2010 3:36 pm

Keenum cleared to play for Houston against UCLA

Posted by Chip Patterson

The Houston Cougars only get three opportunities in the 2010 regular season to showcase their squad against a school from a BCS AQ conference.  One of those opportunities is against the UCLA Bruins on Saturday night in the Rose Bowl.

After receiving a big hit on an interception against UTEP on Friday night, quarterback Case Keenum "displayed symptoms of a mild concussion" and was held out for the rest of the game.  All week, Keenum has been listed as day-to-day and his status was unknown against the Bruins.

Houston, currently ranked No. 23 in the AP poll, relies on Keenum to lead the high-octane offense that is currently first in the nation in total points and ninth in passing yards.  Luckily for Houston, Keenum has been cleared to play.

As part of the University of Houston's concussion management program "an athlete would take approximately one week to proceed through the full rehabilitation protocol once they are asymptomatic at rest and provocative exercise."

The UCLA game is outside the minimum requirements UH guidelines provide for its athletes to overcome symptoms related to concussions.

However, there is no guarantee Keenum will actually see action against the Bruins.

There are still variables that can trigger the recurrence of concussion-like symptoms according to Dr. Walter Lowe, who is one of the University of Houston's team doctors and is on the school's concussion management team.

So while there is no guarantee that Keenum will start against UCLA, the fact that he has been medically cleared at this point is a great sign for Houston.  The Heisman hopeful has been stellar even in very limited action, throwing for over 500 yards and five touchdowns in what amounts to about a game and a half.

Keenum's backup, junior Cotton Turner, played well in Keenum's absence against UTEP.  Stepping in to complete 17 of 21 passes and throw for a pair of touchdowns himself.  However, UCLA will present a more formidable defense than the Miners, and having Keenum under center will help ease any concerns of a potential upset from the Bruins.  
Posted on: September 13, 2010 9:57 pm

Former Penn captain who killed self had C.T.E.

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Earlier today, we questioned the sanity of allowing Houston QB Case Keenum to return to action for the Cougars after sustaining a concussion during play on the previous Friday. And while we can try to conjure as many different synonyms for "reckless" as possible to describe the situation, it's really not as likely to resonate as an argument without a tangible example of the dangers involved. 

Unfortunately, new details about those exact dangers emerged just today, as the New York Times reported that Penn student Owen Thomas, the former lineman and captain of the Quakers who hanged himself at the age of 21, was found to be suffering from the same type of degenerative brain disease that has recently been associated with long football careers. The disease, Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (or C.T.E.), can cause a host of serious mental problems in those afflicted with it, including substance abuse, suicidal depression, and symptoms similar to Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's Disease. Most notably, it was also found in an autopsy of Chris Henry, the former Cincinnati Bengals and West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver who died after falling out of his fiancee's truck in a bizarre incident last year.

The most harrowing aspect of the revelations about Henry and Thomas is that neither man was ever diagnosed with a concussion, and neither had an extensive football career past middle school. Henry played one of the least contact-intensive positions in the sport, and while Thomas was on the other end of that spectrum, he was also only a 21-year-old junior when he began the mental collapse that ended in his apartment months later.

Worse, as of last year, 20 deceased football players had been tested for CTE--some who had exhibited no symptoms whatsoever--upon autopsy. 19 tested positive. Thus, considering Thomas' history in the sport and his subsequent quick descent into suicidal depression, it would have been far more surprising if the 21-year-old Thomas hadn't had CTE. That should be frightening for every single fan of the sport of football--and even moreso for parents of young football players.

And yet Houston coach Kevin Sumlin won't give Keenum a week off after Keenum's concussion. Just something to think about.

Posted on: September 13, 2010 5:05 pm

How is Case Keenum day-to-day with a concussion?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

As mentioned earlier, Case Keenum suffered what's being called a mild concussion and is, according to Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, "day-to-day" and "improving dramatically." On its face, that's good news for Houston fans, as Keenum is their superstar and a big key to victory this weekend and going forward.

But that all obscures a larger question. If Keenum really did suffer a concussion, how in the world is he just "day-to-day"?

First of all, let's agree to retire the term "mild concussion." There's no such thing. Certainly, there are concussions with fewer visible effects than the crushing hit Tim Tebow took last year that sent him to a hospital, full vomit bag in hand. But even if a player suffers what would usually go down as a "mild concussion," that is still a brain injury, and needs to be treated accordingly. Sure, Keenum's condition has improved dramatically between Friday and today, but that should be a sign of concern, not relief: that means there was dramatic improvement that needed to be made.

Our colleague Eric Freeman wrote a story about the Philadelphia Eagles' own concussion problems yesterday, and in multiple instances, the Eagles sent concussed players (quarterback Kevin Kolb and linebacker Stewart Bradley) back onto the field before halftime, leading to this sickening quote from Andy Reid:


Coach Andy Reid said both Kolb and Bradley were initially cleared by the medical staff on the sideline. It was decided at halftime to sit them.

"They were fine," Reid said. "All of the questions they answered with the doctors registered well, but as it went on, they weren't feeling well. So we took them out."

Let's be clear: Bradley and Kolb were not fine. Both visibly struggled to leave the field immediately after their hits. Worse, upon actual examination by team doctors today, both men were sent home after failing concussion tests. So if Reid says the two men were fine on Sunday but not today, then whatever gameday protocol the Eagles followed (to a T!) is recklessly insufficient.

But this isn't about the Eagles. This is about the Houston Cougars, potentially threatening Keenum's mental well-being years down the road in pursuit of, tops, two weeks' worth of stats for the quarterback. With all the news about that has come out recently about the (surprisingly prevalent) deleterious effects of repetitive brain trauma on former football players, it is within a football players' best interests to ease back into play over the span of weeks, not days. Rushing Keenum back--and, let's be honest, calling him "day-to-day" on a Monday means he's playing on Saturday--seems like an insanely reckless decision

Posted on: September 13, 2010 1:25 pm

QB's uncertain on both sides for Houston-UCLA

Posted by Chip Patterson

The showdown between No. 23 Houston and UCLA is a pivotal one of the high-powered Cougars, with it being one of three games on the schedule against BCS AQ schools.  A chance to showcase their top-ranked offense against one of it's more formidable opponents, and also a chance for Heisman hopeful quarterback Case Keenum to try and rack up numbers on a more national stage.  

But first he needs to be medically cleared to play.  Keenum is still listed as day-to-day after leaving the game in the Cougars' 54-24 win over UTEP on Friday.  Keenum took a blow to the head while throwing an interception, and was "displaying signs of a mild concussion" but has been "improving dramatically," according to Houston head coach Kevin Sumlin.  

Things are just as ambiguous on the other side of the ball for the Bruins with their signal callers.  Starting quarterback Kevin Prince has struggled to get back to 100 percent since sitting out most of the preseason with a strained oblique.  Prince then injured his shoulder in UCLA's 31-22 season opening loss to Kansas State.  Prince shared time in practice with Richard Brehaut, and the sophomore eventually took over for Prince after an unproductive first half in UCLA's 35-0 loss to Stanford.  Brehaut was unable to get much going himself, but it has left UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel with no clear-cut favorite for starting quarterback.
"We'll see. We'll watch practice. The effectiveness of the quarterback position is critical, so we want to make sure we have someone out there who knows what he's doing and does it well. At the end of the day, as long as (Prince's) health is good, it comes down to performance. To date, the performance hasn't been what it needs to be."Neuheisel went on to reiterate that there is no decision and he has found himself second-guessing his decision to start Prince the first two games of the season.  Houston is almost guaranteed to put up big points against the Bruins, so if UCLA wants to have any chance in the Rose Bowl on Saturday, they need to get things fixed on the offensive side of the ball. 
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