Posted by Adam Jacobi
As mentioned earlier, Case Keenum suffered what's being called a mild concussion and is, according to Houston coach Kevin Sumlin, "day-to-day" and "improving dramatically." On its face, that's good news for Houston fans, as Keenum is their superstar and a big key to victory this weekend and going forward.
But that all obscures a larger question. If Keenum really did suffer a concussion, how in the world is he just "day-to-day"?
First of all, let's agree to retire the term "mild concussion." There's no such thing. Certainly, there are concussions with fewer visible effects than the crushing hit Tim Tebow took last year that sent him to a hospital, full vomit bag in hand. But even if a player suffers what would usually go down as a "mild concussion," that is still a brain injury, and needs to be treated accordingly. Sure, Keenum's condition has improved dramatically between Friday and today, but that should be a sign of concern, not relief: that means there was dramatic improvement that needed to be made.
Our colleague Eric Freeman wrote a story about the Philadelphia Eagles' own concussion problems yesterday, and in multiple instances, the Eagles sent concussed players (quarterback Kevin Kolb and linebacker Stewart Bradley) back onto the field before halftime, leading to this sickening quote from Andy Reid:
Coach Andy Reid said both Kolb and Bradley were initially cleared by the medical staff on the sideline. It was decided at halftime to sit them.
"They were fine," Reid said. "All of the questions they answered with the doctors registered well, but as it went on, they weren't feeling well. So we took them out."
Let's be clear: Bradley and Kolb were not fine. Both visibly struggled to leave the field immediately after their hits. Worse, upon actual examination by team doctors today, both men were sent home after failing concussion tests. So if Reid says the two men were fine on Sunday but not today, then whatever gameday protocol the Eagles followed (to a T!) is recklessly insufficient.
But this isn't about the Eagles. This is about the Houston Cougars, potentially threatening Keenum's mental well-being years down the road in pursuit of, tops, two weeks' worth of stats for the quarterback. With all the news about that has come out recently about the (surprisingly prevalent) deleterious effects of repetitive brain trauma on former football players, it is within a football players' best interests to ease back into play over the span of weeks, not days. Rushing Keenum back--and, let's be honest, calling him "day-to-day" on a Monday means he's playing on Saturday--seems like an insanely reckless decision