During his weekly press conference Monday afternoon, Michigan football coach Brady Hoke stood at a podium and said the following:
“What I can tell you is we would never, ever, put a guy on the field when there is a possibility with head trauma. We won’t do that.”
He later added the following in the same press conference:
“We would never, ever, if we thought a guy had a concussion, keep him in the game.”
More than 12 hours later, at 12:52 a.m. Tuesday, a statement released by Athletic Director Dave Brandon confirmed sophomore quarterback Shane Morris had indeed suffered a “probable, mild concussion” resulting from a helmet-to-helmet hit in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game against Minnesota. There is no comment from head neurologist Jeffrey Kutcher or a member of the medical staff.
This came after Hoke said: “You’ll have a statement from our medical department.”
Instead of benching Morris, who was stumbling and, to the untrained eye, was exhibiting symptoms of head trauma, Hoke and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier allowed the quarterback to remain on the field for two more plays. They later claimed to not have seen the impact to Morris’ head.
Brandon’s statement Tuesday morning, which apologized for the decision and offered steps to avoid similar mistakes in the future, shows the accountability we expected from Hoke and the coaching staff Saturday after the game, or Sunday in an e-mail statement, or Monday in the press conference.
Morris was diagnosed on Sunday, but neither Hoke’s statement that night nor his press conference Monday acknowledged a head injury was possible.
Monday, Hoke said the only reason Morris hadn’t practiced was a high-ankle sprain.
Hoke’s statement Sunday was sent at 8:37 p.m. In it, the coach asserted he was “confident proper medical decisions were made.” Monday, he claimed he didn’t know if he would handle the situation differently if it occurred again.
Either Hoke did not know Morris’ diagnosis Sunday night or Monday afternoon, or the truth was not provided.
At approximately 12:45 p.m. Monday, Hoke said he hadn’t been in contact with Brandon about the incident.
Twelve hours later, Brandon claimed he had “numerous meetings” with those “who were directly involved and who were responsible for managing Shane’s care and determining his medical fitness for participation.”
At Monday’s press conference, Hoke said he would not wear a headset on the sideline during games in the future. He did not acknowledge possible benefits the action could have toward improving communication on the sideline.
Tuesday morning, Brandon said the program would need to “make important changes” to ensure a similar situation didn’t occur again.
In his statement Brandon said: “We are also examining how to reinforce our sideline communication processes and how decisions will be made in order to make sure that information regarding student-athlete availability to participate is communicated effectively amongst the medical team and to our coaches.”
Brandon’s press release explained there was a lack of communication on the field Saturday.
The contradictions between the coaching staff and athletic director demonstrate institutional dysfunction within the Athletic Department.
The Michigan Daily football beat can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re on Twitter: @asdettel, @MaxACohen, @G_Garno and @ByAZuniga.