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New legislation in Connecticut after controversial Michigan concussion incident

A controversial move in college football over the weekend has many calling for a head coach's job.

University of Michigan quarterback Shane Morris was the victim of an incredible hit and clearly displayed signs of being injured afterwards, yet coach Brady Hoke allowed him to stay in the game.

Many say he should have been pulled from the game and given ample time to recover. For example, it's been a week since Staples High School soccer player Jack Zeldes suffered a concussion. And he probably won't play again until next week.

It's student athletes like Zeldes and others who are the focus of legislation signed Monday by Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy.

"There are real requirements in this legislation about education plans and about gathering information about reporting and making sure that everyone is as aware as they need to be," Governor Malloy said.

Ann Sherwood, one of three Westport mothers who spearheaded the legislation in Connecticut as part of the Parents Concussion Coalition, was at the Michigan game and couldn't believe the quarterback wasn't pulled off the field.

"No, it's not the right decision," she said. "I mean, I don't know how that happens or why that happens. It shouldn't be happening."

"That's the single biggest issue that we have right now is changing the culture of the sport, that these are serious injuries," said Diana Coyne, also a member of the coalition.

Parents acknowledge the new legislation moves Connecticut's concussion safety measures from weak standards to basic standards that are already in place in 90 percent of other states, all that to say, much work lies ahead.

The Michigan incident happened while the team was down 30-7 early in the fourth quarter. Morris took a crunching hit from Theiren Cockran, who was called for roughing the passer. Morris briefly looked like he was having trouble standing, but he remained in the game for the next play and threw an incompletion before being taken out.

Gardner replaced him, but later on that drive, his helmet came off at the end of a play. While Gardner sat out for a play as required, Morris went back in and handed the ball off to a running back.

Hoke said after the game he didn't see Morris looking wobbly after the initial hit. He elaborated a bit in a statement Sunday night.

"Shane Morris was removed from yesterday's game against Minnesota after further aggravating an injury to his leg that he sustained earlier in the contest. He was evaluated by our experienced athletic trainers and team physicians, and we're confident proper medical decisions were made," Hoke said. "The University of Michigan has a distinguished group of certified athletic trainers and team physicians who are responsible for determining whether or not a player is physically able to play. Our coaches have no influence or authority to make determinations if or when an injured player returns to competition."

Even ESPN's announcers were outraged that the coach kept Morris in the game after a hit they say could have caused a concussion .

Morris eventually left the field in a cart.

"Shane's a pretty competitive, tough kid," Hoke said. "And Shane wanted to be the quarterback. And so, believe me, if he didn't want to be, he would've come to the sideline or stayed down."

But sports analysts say it's not up to the player to decide if they're healthy enough to stay in. During college games, it's up to the coaches and staff to make the call.

The NFL, unlike the NCAA, has a certified athletic trainer watching the game and replays to find players with potential head injuries. Both organizations are paying millions in settlements surrounding the dangers of repeated concussions.

Experts estimate there are about 4,000 concussions a year in college football.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
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