Delany Cites Morris' Injury For New Change

At Big Ten Media Days, Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany says the league will add a health expert to the press box to stop plays in case of serious injury this season. He cited Michigan, which involved quarterback Shane Morris head injury last fall, as a major reason behind the change.

CHICAGO – Shane Morris’ head injury suffered last fall, has caused the Big Ten to look for better ways to communicate on the sidelines moving forward to make sure it doesn’t happen again, says Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany.

Morris’ head injury, which was later ruled a “mild concussion,” was the cause of mis-communication of then coach – Brady Hoke – who not knowingly sent Morris back in the game after sustaining the late hit in Michigan’s home loss to Minnesota.

“Last year there was an incident at Michigan,” Delany said. “And you know, I think they spoke to it. And I think that there were eyes that didn't grasp fully in real time what was occurring from our perspective. We thought, well, how can we change that? So how can we improve that?

“So what actually happened was we surveyed all 14 to see how people were positioning their health experts and others. And, as you know, offensive and defensive coordinators often have birds eye views. Some of our institutions had put trainers above the field. But they didn't have any ability to intercede. They could call down, but they couldn't stop play. We talked to the NFL about how they were managing the sideline as well as how they were managing the birds eye view.”

What the Big Ten has decided to do? Well, Delany says the league has decided to assign a health expert to sit in the press box to have better view of possible health risks on the field.

“And, from reviewing everything our schools were doing, from looking at the problem at Michigan, from talking to the NFL, we concluded that the establishment of this policy where the conference assigned a health expert, they have the ability to call and stop the game, not to make a final decision, but to bring to the attention of the health officials on the sideline,” Delany said. “So it's an extra layer of oversight.”

Adding: “And I think it was not only was the incident at Michigan precipitating our reviewing this policy, but it's just a general overall concern at this juncture to get the best research, to get the best playing rules, to get the best day game procedures, to provide the best environment in a sport, which is very physical.”

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