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Sunday Morning Quarterback

Sunday Morning Quarterback

Thursday, July 28, 2005

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A couple of programs dealing with recent player deaths are facing some scrutiny: at Missouri, Aaron O'Neal was apparently taken to the team's training facility rather than the hospital across the street after collapsing during a "voluntary" workout two weeks ago. The team's trainer called 911 from there, and O'Neal didn't make it to the hospital for an hour and a half after the the workout had ended, at which point he was pronounced dead from cardiac arrest. There's some talk here about "systematic changes to the way such workouts are conducted and monitored," since a couple isolated incidents are occurring annually now, but the article goes on to say that strength and conditioning trainers with "unchallengeable authority to cancel or modify the workout for health and safety reasons" are already required at these workouts - there were three on hand at Mizzou when O'Neal collapsed - and why such incidents are nonetheless virtually impossible to prevent when the general mindset is (has to be) "tough it out":

"'Clearly, everybody felt that this was just athletic fatigue and he felt fine,' said Eddie Adelstein, who is also an associate professor of pathology at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
The line between heat stroke and heat exhaustion can be difficult to define, said Douglas Kleiner, a University of Florida professor of medicine and former team trainer for Auburn University and the Miami Dolphins.

'There's a problem in sports medicine,' he said. 'There's not a clear-cut way of distinguishing when you get in that danger zone when it comes to heat stroke.'"
No word on O'Neal's medical situation or toxicology report, or on any potential legal action against the school for its relatively slow reaction.

Jason Whitlock at the KC Star weighs in on "a story with no bad guys."

Meanwhile, in a story with at least one obvious bad guy, Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter "tried to do too much" to help Loren Wade before his starting running back allegedly shot and killed a teammate outside a club in March rather than guide his troubled player towards "other university components" better equipped to handle such matters, according to the findings of a university probe. The probe did not, however, accuse Koetter or any other coaches of having "any cause to believe Loren Wade, then an ASU player and now charged with the killing, was capable of shooting another person," only of "errors in judgment."

Koetter had apparently had some concerns about Wade's behavior, but seeing as those concerns stemmed from the relatively mild - compared with a murder - issues of "verbal threats against two female athletes," it would be interesting to know exactly what "errors in judgment" were involved here, especially since the panel itself found no reason for Koetter to think Wade would fly so far off the deep end. Nevertheless, in true regulatory fashion, the university proposed:

-Changing policies and procedures to address concerns about violence or the threat of violence by a student.

-Establishing a hot line to the university's police department for anonymous reporting of threats or incidents involving violence or possession of prohibited weapons.

-Requesting that the university police chief look into receiving notification from local police departments when students are charged with misconduct, especially when it involves the threat or use of violence.

-Establishing a database for reporting and tracking issues involving violence, with faculty and staff required to report all acts or threats of violence and disruptive behavior.
All of which will end all the violence and make everyone get along like good girls and boys.
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11:38 AM

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And don't let the name fool ya - second guessing the phenomenal athletic feats and split-second decisions of college kids under extreme physical duress is for every day of the week.

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