The Heisman front-runner and quarterback of the No. 2 Kansas State Wildcats did not finish the game this past Saturday night. Collin Klein, the senior signal caller for Bill Snyder's second-ranked team, took a shot and ultimately was pulled from the game, with his helmet taken away. Kansas State has been quite hush with the details of the injury, revealing next to nothing, as they've been known to do.
During the Big 12 conference call this week, Snyder maintained that tight-lipped approach. Stefan Stevenson from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported Snyder's comments:
#KansasState's Bill Snyder on QB Collin Klein: "He seems fine to me." Will he play? "I hope so."— Stefan Stevenson (@FollowtheFrogs) November 5, 2012
"He seems fine to me" and "I hope so."
"Seems fine" and "hope" shouldn't get Klein back on the field. Especially not with what we know about the progression of concussion science and where we stand in understanding how second impact syndrome effects players. At this point, merely entertaining of the thought of Klein playing should be enough to make folks second guess things.
Especially after the Matt Scott situation at Arizona. The quarterback "seemed fine" to his coaches as well. He was pushed to play for those Wildcats against UCLA this Saturday night. "Seems fine" got Scott his third serious blow to the head in two weeks and sent to the locker room because he was dizzy. From ESPN's game recap:
Arizona's Matt Scott, ranked second nationally in total offense at 386.1 yards per game, completed 15 of 25 passes for 124 yards before being shaken up and leaving the game midway through the third quarter. Scott was unable to finish his team's 39-36 upset of USC last weekend after being injured late in the game.
"Matt hit his head on somebody's thigh and got dizzy," first-year Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. "I spoke with him in the locker room after the game and he's OK."
"Seems fine" didn't do Scott any good. He was ineffective in the game and ultimately another head injury did more harm to the senior. Certainly, no one would want to put Klein in that position, would they?
The right answer is hopefully not. Except what's right and what's true most certainly aren't the same thing. We know now that in 2009 Tim Tebow lied to get to play in the LSU game two Saturdays following his concussion against Kentucky. The training staff did its job, Urban Meyer tried to do his job but ultimately Tebow won them over with a lie.
Right now, we don't know the severity of the injury, but what we do know is that the climate surrounding injured football players and national championships often sees the pressure revved up to ignore the former in favor of the latter.
We can't combat Klein's internal pressure to play, but certainly we should work to abet the external pressure. That pressure that media, fans and the like generate by lusting for a warrior's effort instead of letting a kid know he's not failing anyone by not pushing through.
You only get one brain, Collin Klein. Hopefully when the dust settles, Klein and the medical staff will make the right call. While we don't know severity of the head injury it stands to reason, given the discussion, that Klein is better safe than sorry where his brain is concerned.