CJ Donaldson ruled out against Baylor, WVU releases its concussion policy

Oct. 5—MORGANTOWN — The only appearance CJ Donaldson will make on the sidelines against Baylor next week will be in street clothes.

WVU head football coach Neal Brown said Tuesday that the freshman running back has already been ruled out against the Bears and is currently in the school's concussion protocol.

Brown also said four other players suffered concussions last week against Texas, but was withholding their names until the Mountaineers get closer to actual game-week preparation.

"CJ, he will be out for the Baylor game. I will say that, " Brown said. "He'll be out. The rest of the guys, I think it's too early to make a determination on."

Donaldson fell to the ground hard and appeared to hit the back of his head against the leg or knee of a Texas defensive lineman during the third quarter of WVU's 38-20 loss.

He was put into a neck brace and carted off on a stretcher and taken to a local hospital in Austin, Texas, where he was able to move his arms and legs and remained alert. Donaldson was eventually cleared from the hospital and traveled back to Morgantown with the rest of the team.

On Sunday, Donaldson tweeted: "I'm O.K. everyone. I will not be on my phone too much. Thanks for all of the love and support."

As to what needs to be known about concussion protocols in college athletics, they may differ from school to school.

What the protocols are at WVU, may be somewhat different than the protocols at Oklahoma, Syracuse or Colorado.

But, according to WVU football officials, every school must send in their concussion standards to receive clearance every year by the NCAA.

"Our medical people handle all of it, " Brown said. "As far as the return to play, it's really pretty standard across football in general. It's a restrict return to play here that we have to follow and I'm zero involved in it."

The Dominion Post received a copy of WVU's concussion protocol on Tuesday.

According to the 11-page document, any WVU athlete who is diagnosed with a concussion is prohibited from returning to a practice or game on the same day the concussion is sustained.

Furthermore, every WVU athlete must be clear of concussion symptoms—headaches, vomiting, drowsiness, loss of sleep, as well as other signs—before they can begin a five-phase return-to-play standard.

The first phase is going through light aerobic exercise with no resistance training.

The second step is going through increased exercise activity, while the third step is returning to sport-related activity and drills with no head contact.

The fourth phase is returning to practice, while the final step is being cleared to play in a game.

In order to reach the fifth step, WVU athletes must complete the first four steps without displaying any symptoms of the concussion. If symptoms show up again, the athlete is forced to go back a step for a minimum of 24 hours.

Only the WVU medical personnel can clear athletes through the five steps, as well as their return to live action.

Brown, as well other WVU coaches in other sports, have no say when an athlete returns to play.

What can happen, though, Brown said, is coaches can alert the medical staff during a practice or game that an athlete may need to be checked out.

"If we think there is something off about a kid, we will alert our medical team, " Brown said. "That happened with two of the guys that suffered concussions during the (Texas) game. They were a little off and we said, 'Hey, you need to check him.'"

With Donaldson being ruled out against Baylor, the earliest he could return is Oct. 22 at Texas Tech. The freshman leads the Mountaineers with 389 yards rushing.

Tony Mathis Jr. and Justin Johnson Jr. will be counted on to handle the running game in Donaldson's absence.

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