- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Concussions mark alarming trend for Midshipmen
Question of the Day
ANNAPOLIS — Navy junior cornerback Jonathan Wev returned to a starting job last month after sitting out a game because of his concussion in the season opener.
He also knew as he settled in to start against VMI what awaited him if he absorbed another head injury.
It happened in his first game back on a collision near the sideline. And with that, he had a good idea his career was over.
“They told me if I got another one, it’d pretty much be it,” Wev said. “So whenever I came off the field against VMI, I kind of already knew.”
Concussions have received more attention in recent years as researchers learn more about the long-term impact of head injuries. In turn, it leads to more scrutiny of how schools and teams handle concussed players.
Niumatalolo often refers to the academy’s concussion protocol, which provides a consistent framework with which to deal with head injuries.
“Ours is actually written down,” said Jeff Fair, Navy’s associate athletic director for sport medicine. “The reason we do that is because then we have something to go back to and it’s in writing and [we can] say, ‘This is the way we do it, and we handle it the same way each time.’”
The Midshipmen have put the protocol to use frequently in recent years. Safety Emmett Merchant and tackle Matt Molloy saw their careers end early in their senior years because of concussions in 2010, as did tackle David Sumrall last year.
Fair said all players take a baseline exam when they first arrive at the academy to measure balance, memory and symptoms. If a player suffers a head injury and his concussion test doesn’t match the baseline test, he is ordered to rest to encourage the brain to heal.
Concussed players are evaluated three or four times over the course of a day, and if they are symptom-free for 24 hours they take the concussion test again. They then go through a cardiovascular workout, are evaluated again, and then can go through a weight workout the next day. If things check out, it is possible a player could practice in a noncontact capacity the following day.
Theoretically, a return is possible in less than a week, which is what safety Tra’ves Bush did last week. Anxious to play in a rivalry game against Air Force a week after sustaining a concussion in a Sept. 29 loss to San Jose State, Bush remained in his room throughout that Monday as he recovered.
He received advice from Wev, who in retrospect said he could have shown more patience with his own injury.
“I just told him to take your time and really be honest with yourself because I feel like I could have been more honest with myself than I was and I was too anxious to get back,” Wev said. “I probably should have waited at least another week.”
After meeting the academy’s protocol, Bush was cleared to play. He has 12 tackles in the Mids’ victory.
“It’s very humbling,” said Bush, who also had a concussion last year. “It’s something you have to be extremely careful with.
“Our strength coaches were telling me all week, if you go back out there, don’t lead with your head. On the field, it’s not something you really think about in the middle of a play, but it helps to have people telling you certain things to keep you healthy.”
The guidelines also include a frequency component. Wev said he was told his season would be over if he suffered a third concussion. While Fair said it isn’t simply a three-strikes policy, a player who had several concussions in a short period of time is at greater risk. Wev had three in a seven-week span, including one early in preseason camp.
For his part, Wev segued into a student assistant role recently, providing help to the Mids’ young defensive backs and contributing how he can. Still, it’s not the same for a man who had no concussion history before his recent issues.
“I just try to take it day by day and focus on the fact I’m still blessed with a good education from the Naval Academy,” Wev said. “I try to focus on the good things, but it is tough.”
Note: Freshman quarterback Keenan Reynolds will start Friday at Central Michigan, Niumatalolo said. Junior Trey Miller, who left Saturday’s game with a left ankle injury, did not practice Wednesday. Reynolds will be the first plebe to start at quarterback for the Mids since 1991.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- George Mason's defense dissipates in 84-74 loss to Northeastern
- Maryland's Pe'Shon Howard willing to let others put ball in the basket
- At 7-5, George Mason looks on the bright side entering CAA play
- Terps beat IUPUI, set for ACC after final tuneup
- Maryland's Jake Layman shows signs of progress in freshman season
Latest Blog Entries
- Calling prison term disparities unfair, Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- Obamacare 'pajamas boy' gets roundly mocked
- Duck Dynasty Phil Robertson suspended indefinitely for gay quip
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- Special ops vets slam military benefit cuts
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow