Coaches wary of disclosing injuries

Tuesday, September 30, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 4:11 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

College football fans seeking information about injuries might be getting frustrated.

“He has an shoulder thing,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said in August about freshman wide receiver Jason Ray when discussing whether Ray would redshirt this season.

That’s about as specific as many coaches are getting for news reports.

Fewer college coaches are releasing information about their injured players. In the Big 12 Conference teleconference Monday, several coaches gave their reasons for keeping quiet.

“I think the biggest fear for all of us is, is this fair for the young guy,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “If he is going to play, why is it necessary, outside of gamblers, why is it necessary that everybody understands his situation?”

In addition to gambling, Stoops blamed the media for over-hyping injuries.

“The media, they’re the ones that really put us in a difficult situation, because they all want to outscoop each other,” Stoops said. “Who’s that helping, outside of the gambler? That’s it. It’s hurting the young man who’s playing for his college.”

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, passed in 1996, states that schools cannot release injury information without the injured player’s consent. This law also limits coaches.

“Right now with the HIPAA act they’ve told us we can’t release anything that the injured person doesn’t say is OK,” Texas coach Mack Brown said. “They have to sign a waiver before you can release anything on the sideline or during the week.”

Brown said that university administrators have spoken with him about talking minimally about his players’ injuries.

“I think it’s something that we’ll see in more programs in the future,” Brown said.

Although most Big 12 coaches have said they will not discuss injuries, a few still discuss injuriesdo.

“I don’t know that it’s that tremendously important to me, at this particular point in our program especially,” Baylor coach Guy Morriss said. “I can see where people would be a little bit more cautious about that. I think it’s probably the nature of coaches, we get a little paranoid about that from time to time.”

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