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Is Syracuse doing enough to protect Eric Dungey, on and off the field?

A former Syracuse football player’s opinion on SU concussion protocol after Eric Dungey leaves another game with an injury.

Syracuse v Clemson Photo by Tyler Smith/Getty Images

In the second quarter of Saturday’s match-up between the Syracuse Orange and Clemson Tigers, quarterback Eric Dungey went down with an injury following a hit to the head. He left the game with what looked like could potentially be another concussion (SU has not released any info as of yet). Since becoming SU’s quarterback, Dungey has left multiple games after receiving what looked like a hit to the head.

Since 2013, Syracuse’s athletic training staff has disqualified several players under the SU concussion protocol. After Dungey’s first-half exit this week, many wondered about the star quarterback’s future.

The Syracuse University concussion protocol reads, “If an athlete suffers two time-loss concussions of any length while at Syracuse, a letter is sent to them explaining that a third concussion may medically disqualify them from further participation at Syracuse.” In 2015, Syracuse University amended those rules, covering all sports, where after three concussions resulting in missed time, the athlete is automatically disqualified.

During the game, I tweeted Syracuse’s training staff operates on a “how valuable you are to this team” basis. The reality is, after having a concussion diagnosed, players are evaluated by the team doctor throughout the week and required to take a neuropsychological test. Every player has a baseline test and are retested to measure recovery and cognitive responses.

After evaluations and test results, players are either allowed to play or ordered to sit out the week and repeat the process the following week. Over the last few years, Syracuse team doctors have been very conservative when determining the future of some players, disqualifying most athletes after two-to-three concussions.

In my opinion, I think this is fair. Player health and safety should be a training staff’s number one priority. In my time playing for Syracuse, I received the some of the best care, especially in dealing with my digestive issues and injury against Florida State in 2013.

My comments though, are based on schools not having to follow their own rules. The NCAA approves of every school’s concussion protocol but doesn’t require they follow it. Eric Dungey is the starting quarterback, engine of the offense, and the cornerstone of Syracuse’s future in the Dino Babers era. Some of the hits he’s taken over the last few seasons have been brutal and many of them have been to the head. While I do believe Syracuse’s staff are taking the best possible care of him as they can, I also believe they may be giving him special preference and the needs of the team are also in consideration when they are evaluating him.

Dungey is an exceptional football player and one of the toughest athletes Syracuse University has seen in a long time, I just hope he’s not putting himself in danger and I also hope Syracuse’s staff will know when enough is enough. There is no room for player deference. The game of football is already under enough scrutiny due to injuries to the head and I would like to see Syracuse on the right side of the conversation while concussion protocol regulation is still at it’s infancy among the NCAA.