Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said Tuesday that quarterback Brian Lewerke didn’t go through protocol to diagnose a possible concussion during Saturday’s game against Illinois. Tuesday night, Michigan State said Lewerke had, in fact, been tested.
Lewerke got hit in the head by an Illinois player’s knee in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 37-34 loss and said Tuesday the hit “definitely rung my bell.” He did not leave the game.
Dantonio was asked at his press conference if Lewerke had gone through protocols to check for a concussion during the game. The coach said no.
“We looked at him. No we didn’t go through any protocol,” Dantonio said. “We looked at him very quickly. I asked him, he said he was good. And we motioned that to our trainers as well so he just went on with it.”
In a follow up question asking if Lewerke was subsequently tested after the game, Dantonio answered, “No, no.”
The play after Lewerke got kneed in the head he threw an interception that was returned 76 yards for a touchdown by Sydney Brown.
MSU doctor: Lewerke was tested twice
Concussion testing is done without input from coaching staffs so that medical personnel can make decisions without pressure from staff members who may want a player to go back in. Hours after Dantonio’s press conference Tuesday, Michigan State released a statement attributed to the school’s interim doctor of athletic medicine that noted that coaches and athletic department staff have no role in concussion testing.
“The safety of student-athletes at Michigan State University is our No. 1 priority. Decisions on whether a player returns to competition after potentially suffering an injury are made by our medical staff, which does not report to our coaching staff or through the Athletics Department,” Dr. Anthony M. Avellino said in a statement.
“Upon returning to the sideline late in the fourth quarter with under five minutes remaining in the game, Brian Lewerke was given a symptom assessment by our medical staff. After not showing signs of a concussion, he was cleared to play.
“As a precautionary measure, Brian was given further testing the following day, and was once again determined not to have a concussion.”
Michigan State plays Michigan on Saturday. If the Spartans lose that game to fall to 4-6, wins over Rutgers and Maryland will be necessary in the last two weeks of the season to simply qualify for a bowl game.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports
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