Georgetown Hoyas star forward Otto Porter sat out of the team’s last game after suffering a mild concussion in the home opener. Porter could play against UCLA in the Legends Classic tomorrow night. But if he doesn’t, what seems like a bummer for Hoyas fans, is a good sign for college basketball.
By keeping Porter on the bench as a precaution, the Hoyas demonstrate they take seriously the NCAA’s guidelines regarding concussions.
Most headlines about athletes and concussions focus on football. But basketball players often suffer concussions, especially from flying elbows. However, unlike football players, basketball players wear no head gear to blunt the blows.
The NCAA guidelines regarding concussions makes no distinctions based on sport.
According to the NCAA, if a player reports concussion-like symptoms:
“First, they should be removed from play as soon as a concussion is suspected and evaluated by an appropriate health-care professional, such as a certified athletic trainer, team physician or a health care professional experienced in concussion evaluation and management.
Athletes with a concussion are not allowed to return to the game that day. They should not return to play until all symptoms have been resolved during rest and exertion. A health care professional with experience in evaluating concussions should clear the student-athlete before returning to play is considered.”
These rules arose from awareness. You can change rules over night, but transforming culture takes years. It appears that the culture in sports — where athletes are told to “man up” or “tough it out” — now recognizes medical experts and research.
Last season Louisville Cardinals basketball players began wearing mixed-martial-arts helmets in practice to cut down on multiple concussions. Michigan State Spartans sophomore guard Travis Trice suffered a concussion after taking a hit to the nose in their season opener. Coach Tom Izzo characterized the injury as a “two-week concussion”.
After Porter showed symptoms of a mild concussion Hoyas Coach John Thompson III said “Otto’s well-being is our first priority and he is being monitored by our sports medicine team and our doctors, who have been evaluating him daily.”
Nice to see coaches addressing brain trauma with medical terms instead of euphemisms like “shaken up” or “a little woozy”.
Taking these precautions is great for basketball, and even better for basketball players.
Merlisa blogs about Georgetown and Big East basketball. Follow her on Twitter: @merlisa