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AJ Long and Syracuse’s Concussion Protocol

We now know why AJ Long truly wasn’t playing. He was suffering from a concussion, nothing you ever want to hear that a player is going through. We know the dangers of concussions, as the coverage of concussions and head trauma has become more prevalent.

AJ Long is done playing football at Syracuse, of course if he wants to he could transfer and play elsewhere, but for now it looks like he will stay at SU. This is a part of Syracuse’s concussion protocol, which is truly ahead of the pack. For this Syracuse deserves praise and applause for taking the necessary precautions.

But I also question how AJ Long’s concussions were handled publicly. As we know by now, Syracuse is not required to divulge every injury. But Long was never once listed on an injury report due to a concussion. In fact, Long only appeared once on the SU injury report. That came last November with an “upper-body injury.” While a concussion would in fact be an “upper-body injury,” many reported at the time that it was a nerve issue in his throwing arm.

So the question becomes, when did AJ get these concussions? How did they go unreported? And is this an issue that Syracuse, the ACC, and the NCAA as a whole needs to take a closer look at?

For the first question, the thought is that AJ got his latest concussion in a practice. Second, the concussions likely went unreported because that is what Syracuse wanted.

As for the third question, this is the most important. Do Syracuse, the ACC and the NCAA need to take a closer look at their concussion protocols?

Syracuse has a great system in place to try and treat and prevent concussions, going as far as disqualifying players after multiple concussions. If the SU Athletic Department doesn’t want to report concussions to the media, that is their prerogative, one that I think is incorrect.

This is where the ACC and the NCAA needs to step in. There is no reason that the first time we hear about a player getting a concussion is when the announcement is made that they will never play football again because he had multiple concussions. The NCAA and its conferences need to figure out how they want to handle concussions going forward. The policy differs from school to school and conference to conference with no continuity or common ground.

This is literally what the NCAA was created for, to help preserve the safety of collegiate athletes. There is a need for some kind of blanket policy, we can’t have injuries hidden, that’s what leads to things like this happen at Michigan, and we don’t want that to happen.

 

Posted By: Seth Goldberg

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