December 29, 2009 by Rick Rottman
Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach picked a bad time to pretend concussions aren’t real
Texas Tech head football coach Mike Leach has been suspended indefinitely. If he was a radio shock-jock, being suspended indefinitely would just be a fancy term for getting fired.
The thing that got coach Leach suspended was how he treated a player who suffered a concussion, and not just any player, the son of a former NFL player who had to retire early because of concussions. A former NFL player who is now an ESPN college football analyst who, coincidentally, feels very passionate about concussions and the proper treatment of concussions.
The Texas Tech player is wide receiver Adam James, son of Craig James.
A source close to the family said James sustained a concussion on Dec. 16, was examined on Dec. 17 and told not to practice because of the concussion and an elevated heart rate. The source said Leach called a trainer and directed him to move James “to the darkest place, to clean out the equipment and to make sure that he could not sit or lean. He was confined for three hours.”
A source told The Associated Press that James said Leach told him if he came out, he would be kicked off the team.
According to the source, Leach told the trainer, two days later, to “put [James] in the darkest, tightest spot. It was in an electrical closet, again, with a guard posted outside.”
Coach Leach picked the wrong time to treat concussions as though they were things players pretend to have to get out of practice. If he is fired over this controversy, I’m not sure a team in the NFL will touch him. The NFL has been working very hard at changing the way teams treat concussions. If a team were to turn around and hire Leach, a guy who evidently believes the best way to treat concussions is to make the injured player stand in a dark room for hours, I don’t think the league would react very positively to the hiring.
Texas Tech went ahead and fired Coach Leach.