Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, September 30, 2014

Things are going from bad to worse at Michigan.

Embattled coach Brady Hoke has his hands full dealing with a team that?s struggling mightily on the field. Now, Hoke and Michigan must manage the fallout from the botched handling of an injury to quarterback Shane Morris in last Saturday?s game vs. Minnesota.


"In my judgment, there was a serious lack of communication that led to confusion on the sideline," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said in a statement released early Tuesday morning. "Unfortunately, this confusion created a circumstance that was not in the best interest of one of our student-athletes. I sincerely apologize for the mistakes that were made. We have to learn from this situation, and moving forward, we will make important changes so we can fully live up to our shared goal of putting student-athlete safety first."

To that point, Michigan has announced changes to its medical policy to prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future. The first is that a medical professional will be present in a press box or video booth to communicate with medical personnel on the field, the second is that the school will look into its sideline communication procedures.

Here is how Brandon's statement recounts the incident:

?In the fourth quarter, Shane took a significant hit and stumbled after getting up. From the field level and without the benefit of replays, medical and coaching staffs did not see the hit. Because they did not see the hit, the athletic training staff believed Shane stumbled because of his ankle injury. The team neurologist, watching from further down the field, also did not see the hit. However, the neurologist, with expertise in detecting signs of concussion, saw Shane stumble and determined he needed to head down the sideline to evaluate Shane.

?Shane came off the field after the following play and was reassessed by the head athletic trainer for the ankle injury. Since the athletic trainer had not seen the hit to the chin and was not aware that a neurological evaluation was necessary, he cleared Shane for one additional play.

?The neurologist and other team physicians were not aware that Shane was being asked to return to the field, and Shane left the bench when he heard his name called and went back into the game. Under these circumstances, a player should not be allowed to re-enter the game before being cleared by the team physician. This clearly identifies the need for improvements in our sideline and communication processes.?

America watched it unfold on national TV during Michigan?s 30-14 loss to Minnesota. Late in the game, Morris took a hard hit to the upper body and was wobbled, needing assistance from teammates to right himself. He appeared to have his bell rung but subsequently was allowed to return to the game.

Against this backdrop, Michigan is preparing for a big game at Rutgers on Saturday vs. a 4-1 Scarlet Knights team that is playing well. The Wolverines are on their heels, sporting a 2-3 mark. It?s the first time in school history Michigan has three losses before October.

Morris tweeted this message Tuesday morning:

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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