Big Ten to hire trainers to look for concussions

An independent athletic trainer stationed in the video replay booth will be on the look-out for players who show visible signs of a concussion during Big Ten football games in 2015.

The Big Ten announced Monday that its Council of Presidents/Chancellors approved the change Sunday at a meeting in Indianapolis.

The independent athletic trainer will have his or her own video monitor and have the ability to directly contact officials on the field. He or she will be in addition to the continued presence of on-field doctors and athletic trainers from each school.

The Big Ten also said it would put greater emphasis on requirements for reporting concussions and disciplinary action for non-compliance. Conference spokesman Scott Chipman said the enhanced protocols apply only to football.

It wasn't known if an independent athletic trainer would be on hand when Big Ten teams play non-conference road games or from where the independent athletic trainers would be hired.

''These specifics are still to be determined, and we'll be working with our administrators and sports medicine community at our schools this spring to finalize details,'' Chipman wrote in an email.

The moves come after Michigan came under fire for its handling of a head injury sustained by quarterback Shane Morris in September.

Morris was allowed to play after taking a late hit that left him wobbly. Morris, who also had a sprained ankle, stayed in the game for one more play after the big hit. The school said athletic trainers did not test him for a concussion because they didn't see the late hit.

Coach Brady Hoke, who was fired last week, allowed Morris to go back into the game for one play before he was finally tested for a concussion.

Chipman wrote the enhanced protocols were based on the Council of Presidents/Chancellors' ''continued focus and part of a progression to improve student-athlete welfare. The COP/C felt it was the next logical step to establish the policy for all institutions.''

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