For Losing His Mind, Leach Earns Ride Out of Lubbock
If you've wondered why there's an intense focus on concussions, why the NFL finally dumped the medical specialists who said head injuries don't pose long-term health dangers, why NFL players no longer can return to a game if they suffer even the slightest concussion and why one Democrat in Congress has compared this growing crisis to the deception of "tobacco companies pre-1990s'' -- well, America, meet Mike Leach.
As long as creepy thugs such as the Texas Tech football coach exist, no amount of discourse, reform and legislation is enough.
We are hours from the second decade of the 21st century. Sports people should be more medically aware than ever, particularly about matters of the brain. When an athlete sustains a head injury of any sort, a coach should have the educated sensibility to drop all other priorities and concentrate fully on that player's well-being. In the case of Adam James, a redshirt sophomore receiver, Leach reportedly doubted that he had suffered a concussion during a Dec. 16 practice and thought he was just another player disgruntled about playing time. Even though James had been examined a day later and told not to practice after being diagnosed with a concussion and an elevated heart rate, Leach wasn't a caring, compassionate soul about it. Actually, he came off as a warped and sinister ogre when, according to sources who spoke to ESPN and the Associated Press, he told a university trainer to move James into a secluded room -- "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." If James tried to leave the area, a source told the AP, he would be kicked off the team at once. The Lubbock Avalanche Journal reported that the room was a shed and that Leach forced James to stand in it for two hours during practice.