College football’s most pressing issue — head injuries, and the handling thereof — has knocked on Clemson’s doorstep recently.
Two weeks ago, wide receiver Hunter Renfrow was removed from the Tigers’ win over NC State after suffering a blow to the head, and later lamented he didn’t lie to the team’s trainers during his concussion protocol test to get back in the game. In the same game, running back Wayne Gallman was knocked out and didn’t wake up until he was in Clemson’s training room.
In both players’ cases, the protocol worked.
“I think the trainers and the doctors, and the coaches, are more cautious now,” Dabo Swinney told the Charleston (S.C.) Post & Courier. “The game’s safer than it’s ever been, because you know the signs to look for. If there’s any question at all, you’re out. … Back when I was playing, if you complained about something, you were perceived as soft or not tough or whatever. That culture has changed drastically, without a doubt.
“They have a protocol, and they do a great job with all that stuff. I just say, ‘tell me who to play. (The protocol) has changed in that it’s to the ‘nth’ degree, as far as the side of caution. It’s changed in all levels of football, which is a good thing.”
As for Renfrow wishing he had lied? “Yeah, that’s not good. You should always communicate that,” Swinney said.