MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU football coach Neal Brown has provided an update on the status of running back CJ Donaldson.
The true freshman was carted off the field after sustaining an injury during Saturday’s 38-20 loss to Texas. After undergoing some tests, Donaldson was later cleared to travel home with the team that same night.
Brown said Tuesday that Donaldson is recovering, and that he remains in the team’s concussion protocol, but the head coach noted that the freshman will not play Oct. 13 against Baylor.
When it comes to head injuries in any sport, the Big 12 and NCAA mandate that teams create and follow their own plan for “the evaluation and management of a concussion.” Each individual institution must have their concussion protocol approved by the NCAA, and meet the association’s baseline standards.
According to WVU’s concussion management plan, the first step in an injured player’s return to action is becoming symptom-free for a period of at least 24 hours. That means the student-athlete must return to a “baseline level of symptoms, cognitive function, and balance before starting any exertional activity.”
After becoming symptom-free, the following five-step return-to-play progression begins:
- Light aerobic exercise
- Increased intensity of exertive activity
- Sports specific activity/drills with no head contact
- Full competitive practice
- Return to game action
Brown indicated that the team’s medical staff oversees the concussion protocol, and that coaches have a duty to report concussion-like symptoms to the medical staff if a player seems “off.”
Brown also indicated that at least four Mountaineers sustained concussions in their most recent game, and that several other players were injured. He didn’t disclose the extent of those injuries, and expects to have an update on each player’s status next week.
Donaldson posted on social media Sunday, saying that he is “OK” and will spend less time on his phone as he recovers.
“Thanks for all the love and support,” he added.
After Saturday’s game, Brown called Donaldson’s injury “scary.” The contest was halted for more than 10 minutes as medical staff members from both teams responded to the injury, ultimately removing the player’s jersey and shoulder pads before carting him off the field.
Brown noted after the game that Donaldson had “movement in his extremities.” The freshman also flashed a thumbs-up as he was carted off the field.
Donaldson has become one of the breakout stars of the season for WVU. He leads the Mountaineers in total rushing yards (389), yards per carry (6.9), yards per game (77.8) and rushing touchdowns (six). The tight end-turned-running back ranks No. 7 in the Big 12 in yards per game and No. 6 in yards per carry.
West Virginia is in the midst of an idle week. It returns to action Thursday, Oct. 13 when it hosts Baylor.