A Brad Weathers Update

Prior to the 2003 season, former Mississippi State offensive lineman Brad Weathers suffered nerve damage that appeared to have ended his football career. Brad recently was told by a doctor that he is healed and able to play football again. He and MSU are currently trying to determine if that information is indeed true. If it is and the NCAA approves his appeal to be reinstated, he will be put back on scholarship at MSU. Coach Croom provided me with a Brad Weathers update.

A little more information: If a player suffers what appears to be a career-ending injury, a college can put him on a permanent medical scholarship that allows him to stay on scholarship and finish school but doesn't count against the 85 scholarship limit. That is what happened with Brad Weathers. However, since it appears his injury has healed and he can play football again, at least according to his doctors, Brad is trying to be reinstated so that he can play football for Mississippi State once again. However, before that can happen, MSU's doctors have to agree that he is healthy and the NCAA has to approve his appeal to be put back on scholarship.

Q & A with Coach Croom

What is Brad Weathers current status?
"We are evaluating his medical history, but no decision has been made as of yet."

Who has to make the decision, the Mississippi State doctors or the NCAA?
"The doctors, the NCAA, all of that has to be done."

Will he have one year or two years to play if he is approved to play again?
"We are trying to get him back where he can, hopefully, have two years here. The first thing we have to do is determine exactly what his health situation is. That before anything else. We are not going to take any chances with his health. That was the entire reason for him going on medical scholarship in the first place. There was a serious risk to his permanent health. We knew there was a chance that the nerve damage would heal but no one knew when it would occur or even if it would ever occur to the point where there would be no risks. It appears, at this point, that it possible has, but that has not been totally determined yet. Doctors have to make that determination, then we have to make an appeal to the NCAA."

Why do you have to send an appeal to the NCAA? Why can't the MSU doctors just approve him and you then let him play?
"The intent of the (NCAA) rule is to make sure you don't stockpile players through faking injuries. I can assure you that was not the case with Brad."

How long do you think this process will take?
"I have no idea. This is serious. We have to determine that he is absolutely, totally healthy and that there are no risks of permanent damage. Before he left, there was a risk that even him lifting weights could injure him at that time. That's why he gave up the game. Back then, he could barely lift his arm. Now he has full range of motion. It appears the nerve has healed. Anytime you deal with a nerve, based on my understanding, there is no telling when or even if it would ever come back."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of Dawgs' Bite, Powered by GenesPage.com (http://mississippistate.scout.com), the source for Mississippi State sports on the Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by email at swindoll@genespage.com.

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