Friday, October 31, 2008

Stull to play?

A large questionmark going into the game Saturday surrounds the Pitt quarterback situation. It is reported that Stull's status for the game is unknown. However, based on reports from Kevin Gorman two days ago it seems as if the Panthers are doing everything possible to prepare Stull for the game:

"Pitt quarterback Bill Stull, who was taken
from the field on a strectcher after suffering a concussion and stinger in the 54-34 loss to Rutgers last Saturday atHeinz Field, returned to practice today and worked out with the Panthers in full pads."

Based on Gorman's report I would put my money on seeing Stull in the game. This is just my speculation at this point but here are my reasons (having spent a summer working at UPMC concussion research center and having suffered some concussions as a player I have some insight to the issue):
Following a concussion, this is what typically happens. The medical staff has the player wait until his symptoms have subsided. If the symptoms have subdued then the player will proceed to taking a concussion test. Many college/pro programs use the Impact test (a computer program). This test is taken by all players at the beginning of the season to get a baseline level. The player takes the concussion test and if their scores are back to baseline/normal levels, the player is permitted to attempt physical exertion. The player would not be permitted to do anything until passing the computerized test.

Once the computerized test is passed the player must pass a physical exertion test. This could be a bike test or some sort of running test. If symptoms resume following exertion the player must rest more and is monitored. If they do not the player may be cleared to return to practice on a limited basis with no contact.

It appears based on Gorman's post that Stull has passed the first stages, the computerized and physical exertion test. I say this because to be in full pads and work out with the team you usually must complete these steps first. This would be good news and mean that Stull is progressing rather symptom free.
Typically there is not set time limit for how long a player must sit following a concussion. It is a case to case basis and the player is managed based on his mental status and symptoms.

Some people may be worried that Stull had a more serious concussion because he was unconscious for a little. This is actually false. Blacking out is not a marker for serious concussion. The most reliable markers are retrograde and anterograde amnesia. We can't determine if Billy had these or not, but based upon his quick return to practice I would doubt it.

That being said I wouldn't be too surprised if Billy wasn't in their Saturday. It may be in limited action because of the uncertainty of the offensive line, but I would expect some time.

This much is clear however, the Panthers need Billy running the show this year. If that means he sits this game to be healthy the rest of the year then so be it.

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