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Tag:Concussions
Posted on: October 19, 2010 11:11 am
 

Did a concussion lead to Chris Rainey's arrest?

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It seems that 2010 is becoming the year of the concussion in football.  As we all learn more about what concussions are and the long term effects they have on those who suffer them, the world of football has begun to take the injury a lot more serious than it had in the past.  Just look at the NFL this weekend, as two big hits in two seperate games have the league wondering if it should start suspending players who make head-to-head contact while tackling.

While the long term effects of concussions like chronic traumatic encephalopathy -- CTE -- have included depression and suicide, what about the short term effects?  There's no question that a concussion could lead to some dramatic behavior changes in a victim, like perhaps that person suddenly decides he wants to text an ex-girlfriend that it's "time to die."  That's what some are wondering in the case of suspended Florida receiver, Chris Rainey, who suffered a concussion only a few days before his arrest.

Even the victim in the Rainey case thinks his concussion had something to do with the events of that night.
Since the arrest, the victim has maintained that Rainey's threatening behavior that night was out of character. According to state attorney's records, the victim told police Rainey "has been acting strangely since receiving a head injury in a game played on 9/11/10."

The Gators played USF on that day, and coach Urban Meyer told reporters two days later that Rainey had a concussion.

"He got dinged pretty good," Meyer said on Sept. 13.
When reviewing the text messages between Rainey and the victim that led to the infamous "time to die" message, the victim pointed to Rainey's concussion that very night.
Text messages exchanged between Rainey and the victim that night indicate she thought Rainey's concussion was affecting his behavior. "U want to act a fool so im gonna act a fool too and im here," Rainey texted the victim.

She responded, "I'm not opening the door. It will do no good. Go back home and cool off. U have a concussion chris. Ur acting ridiculous."

Now the question is, is the concussion an excuse or a reason?  It's not easy to answer, but Dr. Robert Cantu of the Sports Legacy Institute says that injuring the brain, which a concussion does, changes behavior and can cause people to act bizarrely.  Of course, Cantu also says that bizarre behavior changes don't normally include "irrational or emotional behavoir, or loss of impulse control."

Which there's no question Rainey displayed on that night.  Though whether it was love or a concussion, we'll likely never know.
Posted on: October 8, 2010 12:03 pm
 

Greg McElroy suffered head injury against Florida

Posted by Tom Fornelli

While all eyes in Tuscaloosa were on Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones and his knee this week, which is good to go by the way, it turns out there was another injury to a key offensive player nobody was aware of.  For a time, not even Nick Saban or the Alabama coaching staff knew.

It seems that quarterback Greg McElroy suffered what's being called a head injury during 'Bama's 31-6 beatdown of Florida on Saturday night. 

"He's actually so poised and so good, he got hurt really in the second quarter and nobody knew it," Saban said. "He got hit in the head when he scrambled once, he got hit on the sidelines and it really affected him in the game, I think. We didn't know it until the fourth quarter when he called the play wrong on the formation wrong, then tried to run the play that we signaled."

While Saban didn't say the word, it seems somewhat obvious to me that if McElroy's head injury was a cut on his forehead, that wouldn't cause him to start calling the wrong plays in the huddle.  To me it sounds like he suffered some kind of concussion, and if that's indeed the case, the Crimson Tide might want to be somewhat cautious with their quarterback this week.

Though the odds of McElroy not playing on Saturday against South Carolina are somewhere between slim and "haha, yeah right."

After all, playing in pain is nothing new for McElroy.  He's dealt with a sore leg the last two weeks, and he broke two ribs against Texas during the title game in January.  So the kid is tough, but if he is suffering from a concussion, there's a thin line between tough and stupid.

Ribs will heal, the brain won't.
Posted on: October 4, 2010 1:27 pm
Edited on: October 4, 2010 1:28 pm
 

James Rodgers practicing with Beavers

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Oregon State Beavers were able to shake off two early season losses to non-AQ darlings TCU and Boise State by winning their first Pac-10 game against Arizona State on Saturday night.  The first time the Beavers have won their conference opener since 2003.

Even more impressive for Oregon State was that they were able to get the win without wide receiver James Rodgers, who was held out for precautionary reasons following the concussion he suffered in the loss to Boise State.  Of course, with a bigger test against the ninth-ranked Arizona Wildcats in Tuscon looming on the horizon for this weekend, it'd be nice of the Beavers can get Rodgers back.

Considering that Rodgers ran with the team and caught passes on Sunday, signs are that they will.

Markus Wheaton did a nice job filling in for Rodgers on Saturday, catching four passes for 48 yards, but the Beavers offense is a lot more potent when it has both of its Rodgers brothers on the field.  Considering the way the Arizona Wildcats defense has played this season -- they're third in the FBS in points allowed per game, only 11.0 a game -- the Beavers are going to need all the weapons they can get to pick up another conference win.

Posted on: September 29, 2010 4:30 pm
 

Boise State safety Venable suspended for one half

Posted by Adam Jacobi

When Boise State kicks off their conference season against powerhouse (cough) New Mexico State this weekend, they'll be doing so without one of their leaders on defense. Winston Venable, a senior safety, was suspended one half by WAC commissioner Karl Benson after a helmet-to-helmet hit on Oregon State wide receiver James Rodgers. From Benson:

"After reviewing this play, it was determined that a flagrant personal foul should have been called by the game officials which would have resulted in the player being ejected" said WAC commissioner Karl Benson.

Rodgers, who wasn't even the ball-carrier on the play (it was a quarterback scramble by Ryan Katz), suffered a concussion and appeared to lose consciousness briefly.

The WAC was planning on suspending Venable for a game before a Boise State appeal cut the punishment in half. The Broncos obviously don't need to have Venable in their secondary to beat NMSU; heck, they could throw head coach Chris Peterson back there and still win by 30. But preparation and routine are important in football, and it'll be easier for Venable to stay in the proper mindset for the season if he's going through practice and preparing to actually be on the field come Saturday -- even if the game could be such a blowout that the rest of the starters will be ordered to sit at the half.

To the larger point, though, it's nice to see a commissioner's office take some proactive steps to combat this sort of thing. Venable's hit didn't make a lot of sense from a football perspective; he didn't try to shed the block, he just decided to initiate the inevitable contact rather than absorb it, and he laid a hellacious hit on Rodgers. Of course, while he was doing that, Katz was staying on his feet and picking up the first down. Tactically, it was a dumb decision, and it ended up being a pretty dangerous one too. Football's got to start actively avoiding that style of play; it's not "dirty" in the normal sense of the word, but it leads to enough brain injury -- on both sides and both immediate and cumulative -- that it's in everybody's best interests to stop such play.

Posted on: September 15, 2010 6:50 pm
Edited on: September 15, 2010 6:54 pm
 

There's no reason for Case Keenum to face UCLA

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It's Wednesday and it seems that Kevin Sumlin and the Houston Cougars are yet to come to a decision on what to do with quarterback Case Keenum.   Keenum suffered what is being termed as a "mild concussion" last Saturday in the Cougars' 54-24 victory over UTEP last Saturday, and though Sumlin has said his quarterback's condition has improved throughout the week, he's still not sure whether or not to let him play against UCLA in the Rose Bowl on Saturday.

Well, since Sumlin and offensive coordinator Jason Phillips have had such a tough time figuring out what to do, I figured I'd help them out a little bit. 

Sit him.

There, problem solved.  As Jacobi went over earlier in the week, the more we learn about the effect of concussions on those who suffer them, the scarier things get.  So whether it was a mild concussion or not, there is absolutely no reason to play Keenum.  Especially when Phillips sounds so confident about Keenum's backup, Cotton Turner.   Who, on an unrelated note, has an awesome name.

"We're going to do what we do," Phillips said. "Our system is in place. Our offense is in place. Our players are confident in what we're doing. Cotton is very confident in what we do, and our players believe in him."

Okay, so if you're so confident in Turner, then why the hesitation over playing him?  Is a victory over UCLA worth endangering Keenum's quality of life?  He is just a kid after all, not a professional athlete.  I'd imagine just going to class with a concussion could be an adventure, let alone playing in a football game.

Turner proved himself more than capable of filling in for Keenum against UTEP, and let's be real, you're facing UCLA here.  Have you seen the Bruins this season?  I don't think playing Turner hurts your chances of leaving the Rose Bowl with a victory.

So for the sake of Keenum, I hope all this indecision is nothing more than posturing just so UCLA doesn't know who to expect under center.

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