Helmet collision was close call for MarrowWritten by Mike Bauman | | email@example.com
NOTE: This is the seventh installment of a weekly series in which staff writer Mike Bauman will follow sixth-year Toledo senior cornerback Desmond Marrow for the 2011 season.
On Sept. 24 at Syracuse, Toledo senior cornerback Desmond Marrow wanted to do his part to help UT leave the Carrier Dome with a victory. Instead, he left on a stretcher.
With less than nine minutes remaining in the third quarter and the game tied at 13, Marrow stepped up to help make a tackle on the Orange’s Antwon Bailey. At the moment of impact, however, his helmet collided with Bailey.
After the hit, Marrow spun off and lay on his stomach.
“It was just a bad angle,” Marrow said. “He was falling forward towards me, and I was trying to just come in and make sure I was making the tackle and just hit him head-to-head, spun out and got knocked out.”
Marrow was taken to the hospital, where he underwent a CT scan and an X-ray. The results came back negative, and he returned to the stadium and flew back with the team. He never got sick or had any headaches, unlike the last time he had a head-on collision in a game. Back in 2008 at home against Fresno State, Marrow suffered a concussion after sliding head first into the Rockets’ cannon outside the end zone.
“It was nothing like that,” Marrow said. “When I hit the cannon, I was, like, woozy, out of it, just started throwing up and stuff like that. Nothing really happened this time; I was out and woke up. No pain, no headache, no dizziness. When I woke up, I just felt a little pain in my neck. That’s about it, but that went away once I got to the hospital.”
On Sept. 25 and 26, Marrow had to ride a stationary bike for 15-20 minutes to make sure he wouldn’t suffer nausea. He also received neck treatment and took a computerized neuropsychological exam twice, which measures reaction time and memory recall. Toledo Associate Athletic Trainer John Walters said that every freshman or transfer takes that test when they have their first physical with the team.
“This is why we do the baseline testing, so that we know what normal is for that individual,” Walters said. “We know what a normal reaction time is for that individual. We know what their normal memory recall is, so that way we can compare, are they cognitively functioning as well as they were before they had the concussion injury.”
In addition to that tool for evaluating a head injury, Walters said the staff also performs a SCAT 2 test, which stands for Sport Concussion Assessment Tool. That test includes the athlete’s rating of their symptoms on a 0-6 scale as well as a cognitive assessment, memory recall and balance examination. If an athlete does suffer a concussion, Walters said they must go 24 hours without experiencing any symptoms. Before the staff can start progressing the athlete back into activity.
“The main thing is that we’re not going to return somebody to play unless we are 100 percent confident that they are able to return without any complications,” Walters said.
Duane and Pam Marrow — Marrow’s parents — had attended every UT game this season except for Syracuse and were watching the contest from their home when Marrow went down. Despite not being there, Duane said the moment was not as devastating as when Marrow tore his ACL and meniscus on the opening kickoff at Northern Illinois in 2008.
“There was actually a couple over from church, and they were sitting there and we were kind of talking back and forth,” Duane Marrow said. “I was looking over to my left talking with them, and as I swung back to the TV I saw Des laying facedown.”
Duane, who played football at Wisconsin, knew that Marrow was most likely knocked out after the hit and prepared Pam for what was about to take place, knowing that their son would be taken off on a stretcher as a precautionary measure.
“I said, ‘Honey, what they’re going to do is just precaution and we’re just going to have to be patient here,’ but that was awkward,” Duane said. “It was awkward in that you’re not there and you can’t do anything. All you can do is pray, and we certainly did that right away.”
Marrow said he was out for a minute or two before waking up. When he came to, he did not want to leave the field on a stretcher and asked to go to the sideline. As he was carted off, Marrow gave the thumbs up to the crowd with his right hand.
“I could move everything,” Marrow said. “I just wanted to let everyone else know that I was fine.”
“We’re just grateful and thankful,” Duane said. “Obviously, that could have been so much worse.”