Safety & Security: Athlete Safety
- Missouri State Freezes Cryotherapy Injury Findings
by Paul Steinbach June 2018
Missouri State University has put the findings of its investigation into cryotherapy injuries on ice.
Suzanne Shaw, MSU's vice president of marketing and communications, told the Springfield News-Leader that details of the investigation into whole-body cryotherapy injuries to two men's basketball players are part of legal work created by MSU's general counsel, making those details exempt from release under Missouri's Sunshine Law. She added that the findings would never be made public.
On Jan. 22, Kombat Cross Training owner King Owens brought a full-body cryotherapy machine to JQH Arena. While using the machine designed to speed muscle recovery by immersing the body in air supercooled with liquid nitrogen, MSU basketball players Reggie Scurry and Abdul Fofana developed blisters on their feet that kept them sidelined for the remainder of the season. Scurry has since transferred to Middle Tennessee.
Owens told the News-Leader Thursday that no one from MSU contacted him regarding an investigation. The paper first reported Jan. 25 that the Food and Drug Administration and others have questioned the efficacy of whole-body cryotherapy, citing a lack of scientific evidence. A day later, the university announced it would investigate the Scurry and Fofana incident. Owens claims it was the first incident of its kind in his personal history of facilitating the therapy 200 to 300 times.
On the day in question, the entire MSU men's basketball team and eight women's team members received cryotherapy treatment. Scurry and Fofana were only inside the equipment for a minute before complaining about tingling in their feet, according to Owens. Scurry said his feet were only in the chamber five seconds before he knew something wasn't right, and that he estimated he was 20 seconds away from losing his toes. His feet frozen, the pain didn't set in until five minutes later. He added in April that his feet were only 80 percent back to normal and that he might sit out the 2018-19 season. “I went through the worst pain in my life. Literally the worst," Scurry said, as reported by the Times-Leader. "I don’t think you understand the pain I went through with my feet."
While within its rights to keep the investigation findings secret, the university may have a moral obligation to release its findings, according to Jean Maneke, an attorney for the Missouri Press Association. "The university does have to deal with the fact that parents entrust their kids to the university," Maneke told the Times-Leader. "The university depends on pulling in students. Parents of students will look at the perception of whether students are safe on campus or not."
Paul Lusk was fired as men's basketball coach after the 2017-18 season, but not because of the cryotherapy incident, according to athletic director Kyle Moats, who said in January that whole-body cryotherapy equipment would not be brought into the arena again. New coach Dana Ford concurred this week.
- Maryland Calls for External Review of Player's Death
by Paul Steinbach June 2018
The University of Maryland has announced it will commission an external investigation into the death of offensive lineman Jordan McNair.
McNair, 19, struggled during a May 29 NCAA-sanctioned and mandatory team workout that involved 10 110-yard sprints. He was taken from the practice to a team house for treatment and then to the hospital before being airlifted to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore where he received a liver transplant. McNair died Wednesday.
"The prudent thing to do and the right thing to do when a situation like this arises is to do a review to make sure that the proper protocols were followed," Maryland athletic director Damon Evans said at a press conference Thursday. "We believe it's important to bring in an external group to conduct the review. We started that process of discussing from the moment Jordan was hospitalized, and we will have a team that will provide us the necessary feedback so we can move forward."
According to ESPN.com, Evans' understanding of the situation so far is that players were given a gallon of water the morning of the workout. The team ate lunch at 2:30 p.m. and was provided with snacks and Gatorade throughout the day. The workout, described by head coach DJ Durking as a baseline workout, began at 4:15 p.m., when the temperature on the practice field was around 80 degrees. Members of Maryland's strength-and-conditioning staff, as well as certified athletic trainers, supervised the workout. The 6-foot-4, 325-pound McNair completed the 10 sprints, but struggled to recover. Evans said it wasn't clear at what specific time athletic trainers administered care to McNair, but that "they were immediately over to him."
An emotional Durkin paid tribute to McNair. "Jordan was such a tremendous person," Durkin said during Thursday's press conference. "As big as he was stature-wise, his heart was much bigger. He had a great way about him. A quiet smile. It was hard to get a word out of him. It was also hard to have a conversation with him without him bringing a smile to your own face. There's a whole team of players, coaches, staff that love him very much, and for that reason everyone is grieving right now."
- Drunk Driver Collides with HS Baseball Team Bus
by Telegram & Gazette June 2018
Police said a Mitsubishi Outlander had collided with a school bus carrying Westboro High School baseball players to a game in Worcester. None of the 20 students on the bus was injured.
- Researcher to Offer Course on Athlete Monitoring
by Erik Lorenzsonn June 2018
An athletic injury researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is teaching an undergraduate summer course that he says is the first of its kind in the country: an overview of athlete monitoring technology.
- Reggie Bush Gets $12.5M for Injury at St. Louis Stadium
by Paul Steinbach June 2018
A St. Louis jury on Tuesday ordered the Rams to pay former NFL running back Reggie Bush $12.45 million for an injury he suffered during a 2015 game at the former Edward Jones Dome.
Bush was returning a punt for the San Francisco 49ers when he was pushed out of bounds and slipped on an exposed concrete surface near the stadium wall behind the Niners' bench, resulting in a season-ending tear in the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee. Bush's lawsuit, filed in 2016, referred to the concrete that encircled the stadium as "a concrete ring of death." A week prior to the Nov. 1 incident, Cleveland Browns quarterback Josh McCown slid across the concrete and into a wall, injuring his shoulder. Two weeks after the Bush episode, the concrete was covered with a rubber padding.
An attorney representing the Rams argued that the team could not have foreseen the danger presented by the exposed concrete, given that only two players had ever been injured in that area of the field in the 20-year history of the Dome.
Bush's lawyer claimed that if it weren't for the injury, Bush likely would have landed a three-year contract in the range of $10 million to $15 million. After sitting out the remainder of the 2015 season, Bush spent one season in Buffalo and retired last year.
The jury found the Rams 100 percent liable for the injury, with the award including $4.95 million in compensatory damages and $7.5 million in punitive damages. Last week, a judge dismissed Bush's suit targeting the public agencies the own and operate the Dome, ruling that the Rams controlled stadium operation on game days.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, jurors were repeatedly shown video clips of Bush's injury in real time and in slow motion as doctors offered opinions on whether the concrete caused Bush's fall or if previous injuries contributed to it. Rams lawyers elicited testimony that Bush may have heard and felt a pop in his knee before reaching the concrete strip beyond the sidelines.
SI.com legal analyst Michael McCann explained some of the issues with the defendants' claim that Bush's history of knee trouble contributed to this particular injury:
One hurdle with such a defense is the so-called “eggshell skull” rule. It dictates that a negligent defendant is responsible for all of the harm he/she causes the plaintiff even when the plaintiff was, because of a skull “as fragile as an eggshell,” more susceptible to a worse injury than the average person.
Here, even if Bush’s preexisting problems placed him at a greater risk of an ACL tear than a typical NFL player, the Rams were still responsible for Bush’s unusually severe outcome. Missouri has adopted a version of the eggshell skull rule. It prevents defendants from attempting to minimize damages by highlighting a plaintiff’s preexisting conditions.
Bush made the case that he wasn't ready to see his career end. "I wanted to keep playing. I wanted to go out on my own terms. I never envisioned, as a little boy, my career ending, slipping and falling on concrete during a football game," said Bush, who added that the lawsuit was ultimately about player safety. "Safety always has to be a priority during games, during practices. I'll be honest with you, I've seen worse. Football's a rough sport. It's already as brutal as it can possibly be. We don't need any concrete or anything else out there that can make it even worse for guys. They've got enough to worry about with other guys trying to take their heads off."
- Preventing Heatstroke Top of Mind for Football Coaches
by Adam Friedman June 2018
Football coaches in Collier County won't be mandated to buy equipment to prevent heatstroke, but they still are taking some of the steps necessary to prevent it.
- Coaches: Safety Concerns Behind Participation Decline
by David LaVaque June 2018
Almost immediately after his August 2017 appointment as Minnesota State High School League associate director overseeing football, Bob Madison heard from 13 programs in crisis.
- How to Beat Burnout in Youth Athletes
by Kirsten Fleming June 2018
In his new book "Minimize Injury, Maximize Performance: A Sports Parent's Survival Guide" (Da Capo Press), San Diego-based chiropractor Tommy John hopes to help parents teach their young athletes how to stay in the game by focusing on their health.
- Plant-Based Infills Gain Traction in Turf Market
by Paul Steinbach June 2018
The driving question for synthetic turf manufacturers has long been, "How do we build fields that best mimic natural grass?" But an increasing number of companies — not only turf system manufacturers, but others that don't deal directly in the marketing of turf fibers — are asking a different question, "How do we replace crumb rubber as an infill?"
- Does Absence of Athletic Trainers Constitute Negligence?
by Mark Dodds June 2018
Intercollegiate football is an exciting but violent sport. A school can employ qualified coaches and medical personnel, and use injury waivers to protect itself from liability. However, failure to meet industry standards for student-athlete care will likely bring litigation in the event a player sues over treatment of injuries suffered on the field. This is evident in the ongoing case of Feleccia v. Lackawanna College, 156 A. 3d 1200 – Pa: Superior Court 2017.