Renner, Fedora concussion test talk causes confusion
Posted September 10, 2012
North Carolina quarterback Bryn Renner took a nasty hit on the goal line in the second quarter of Saturday's loss to Wake Forest. In real-time, and in subsequent replays, it appeared as if Demon Deacons safety Duran Lowe made contact with Renner's shoulder and head. Renner then collapsed to the ground after motioning to the sideline. Screen grabs of the television broadcast showed him face down and eyes shut.
Despite the frightening images, which quickly spread on Twitter and message boards, Renner downplayed the incident.
"I just got the wind knocked out of me. It was more of my ribs. It wasn’t that bad,” explained Renner.
As for pointing to his head before collapsing, Renner reiterated his reasoning and added that he landed on the football. According to Greg Barnes of Inside Carolina, Renner said that he wasn't hit in the head and that no concussion tests were given.
North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora told reporters after the game that the medical staff felt like Renner was ready to go and he was put back in the game. Renner's production was not the same thereafter. According to Bud Elliot of SBNation, the Tar Heels were averaging 6.6 yards per play before the hit and dropped 35 percent to 4.9 yards per play after the hit. Although it's important to keep in mind this production drop off wasn't solely on Renner and the North Carolina defense had a difficult time stopping Wake Forest's offense late in the game.
Interest in Renner's health was obvious during Monday's press conference, but his answers contradicted statements made on Saturday.
"I passed two concussion tests," Renner said. "I felt like I was ready to go back in and those mistakes I made in the second half didn't have any effect from the hit I took in the first half. I just wanted to clear that up for everybody. That wasn't the case."
So Renner didn't have any concussion tests during the game on Saturday, but now he did. It's entirely possible that Renner thought the kind of test he was getting asked about had more to do with getting hooked up to a giant brain scanner, but there are all levels of concussion tests.
Adding to the confusion was Fedora, who spoke to the media before Renner. When asked for an update on Renner, Fedora stated "There was nothing to do with his head, there was no contact to his head."
The fractured timeline of today's media availability, where Fedora made his comments before Renner explained that he did have concussion tests, caused a stir with media and fans alike. On one hand, the head coach is saying it his quarterback wasn't hit in the head and there wasn't a head issue. On the other, the quarterback said he received a test after the hit and another one at halftime.
The issue isn't whether or not North Carolina did or didn't do the right thing. The medical staff absolutely did by giving Renner the necessary tests before putting back on the field. It's the reluctance to be upfront about the situation from the beginning.
Fedora has already established he doesn't discuss injuries because ACC rules doesn't require it and has played cat-and-mouse with Giovanni Bernard's knee situation. That's his prerogative and it's not like Fedora is the only coach in the Triangle that locks down the injury report.
But it's possible to recognize that Renner's status could, and should, be handled differently. Get the stories straight, especially considering his history. Last season, Renner left the NC State game after big hit and passed two concussion tests at halftime. He struggled in the second half and was ultimately benched for the remainder of the game. Further testing that week revealed Renner had actually suffered a mild concussion.