Big Ten announces enhanced concussion protocols

Monday December 8th, 2014

The Big Ten Conference announced on Monday that it has approved a recommendation to establish enhanced concussion protocols.

The new protocols will "move from best practices and minimum requirements for schools to regulatory standards by the conference." The protocols include reporting requirements, disciplinary action if the procedure is not followed and "a higher level of accountability for conference member institutions."

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The Big Ten also agreed to establish an "independent neutral athletic trainer" in replay booths during games. The trainer, who will be in addition to on-field doctors and trainers provided by each school, will have his or her own monitor in the booth and will be able to directly contact officials on the field. 

Player safety has been a much-talked about issue in college football this season. Michigan received criticism for its handling of quarterback Shane Morris, who sustained a "probable, mild concussion" during a game but was not immediately pulled and was later re-inserted for a play. Coach Brady Hoke and the team medical staff later said they did not see any helmet-to-helmet contact and therefore only treated Morris for an ankle injury.

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After the Morris concussion, the Wolverines said they would add a medical professional in either the press box or video booth during games as well as look into its sideline communication process. In October, Illinois also announced it was adding a medical professional in its press box during games to spot potential injuries. 

- Molly Geary

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