Page 4 - Friday, October 3, 2014
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Page 4 - Friday, October 3, 2014 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
Edited and managed by students at
the University of Michigan since 1890.
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
PETER SHAHIN and DANIEL WANG KATIE BURKE
EDITOR IN CHIEF EDITORIAL PAGE EDITORS MANAGING EDITOR
Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of the Daily's editorial board.
All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.
A painful les son
Improved concussion response protocol needed across the NCAA
The recent debacle surrounding the Michigan football
team's handling of sophomore quarterback Shane Morris'
health inevitably turns the discussion toward concussions
and player safety policies. A recently released study found that of
79 deceased NFL players whose brains were examined, 76 had
chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease.
Of a larger pool including 128 former professional,. semi-pro,
college and high school players, 80 percent tested positive for
CTE. Concussions can also have serious consequences in the
short term, as a second hit to the head of a concussed player can
result in serious permanent injury or death. The standard line is
that protecting student-athletes is a priority for the University
and the NCAA, but these institutions must prove this through
What is Michigan?
love sports. I grew up playing
them. I grew up watching
them. I grew through stages
where sports were
and sports were
my identity, where
the baseball fields
and the tennis
courts were my =
home. I grew up
inseparable from DAVID
I also grew HARRIS
up in Michigan
Stadium. I went
to Michigan football games before
I could walk. I grew up wearing
different Michigan shirts to school
every day in elementary school.
The son of two Michigan alums, the
maize and blue way was ingrained
in me from a young age, and I would
never look back until I set foot on
campus as a student.
My freshman year I walked into
the MDen and picked up my stu-
dent football shirt, and on the front
was emblazoned "THIS IS MICHI-
GAN," with a graphic of the players
running out of the stadium tunnel
to touch the banner. From a team
led by Michigan men to the Michi-
gan Difference that's so often tout-
ed, there's a distinct Michigan way
that the University prides itself, the
way that makes Michigan, Michi-
gan. And as I watch the University
take leading spots on everything
from ESPN to ABC's "World News"
and even Al-Jazeera this past week,
it isn't hard to look at all of these
events and transgressions and say:
this is not Michigan.
This is not the representation of
the top public school in America that
deserves to be in the news. This is
not the true portrayal of a university
that accomplishes so much in the
classroom and out. A Michigan
shirt worn in public should:
questions about why the
team doesn't care about i
players or why the Uni
Athletic Department admini
seems inept. Michigan is
through the Diag to get
library, trees and leaves full'
colors of fall, backpack full o
all while avoiding stepping
M. Yet the Michigan we se
where hundreds of students
flood the Diag in protest to
the firing of the Athletic Dir
Upon his hiring at the Un
University President Mark S
made his opinions on athl
the University clear. "Athlet
part of the mission stater
said. "We're Wh
an academic t
institution, so Ithe
want to work on onto
balance between or pri
academics." The 1
events that have
n't elicit in line for basketball games. With
football basketball games onweekdaynights,
its own I'd bring textbooks to read and math
versity's homework to do while in line and
stration sitting in the stadium prior to the
walking game. Because that is what Michi-
to the gan is; striving for the academic
with the vision of the University while having
f books, pride in the school name, wherever
on the it may be.
e is one Thisis whythe events thathave put
instead. Michigan in the national spotlight
call for this past week have elicited such a
ector. big response. One could be cynical
iversity, and take the unwarranted and
chlissel contemptuous position that people
etics at who care about sports are wasting
ics isn't their time, or instead recognize
ment of the ability and role of university
ether the name of the national
school is stitched pedigree of
a basketball jersey as wellas As
inted on a diploma, it is weeks like
Mi . these when we
it is Michigan. say that this is
not Michigan -
not because the
past week have shown a failure to
realize this statement.
But as well-meaning as Schlis-
sel's purposes for his statements are,
it fails to recognize that athletics is
Michigan too. Whether the name of
the school is stitched onto a basket-
ball jersey or printed on adiploma, it
is Michigan, defined not only in the
classroom, but also on the field and
court. Just as I wouldn't claim that
sportswere my only pursuit growing
up, athletics too are not the prima-
ry mission of Michigan. But sports
are and were a key piece to my own:
character and they are an integral
component to what Michigan is.
Last year I would sit outside in
below freezing temperatures to wait
attention is on athletics, but because
we know that Michigan is better.
I love "Michigan sports," but it's
more because of the former rather
than the latter. Legendary former
football coach Bo Schembechler
once said,"Whenyour teamislosing,
stick by them. Keep believing."
Michigan has lost a lot on the field,
but it has lost more off of it. Yet at
the end of every game without fail,
the band plays "The Victors" and
the last words that echo through
the stadium are "the leaders and the
best," even after a loss. Because that
- David Harris can be reached
action rather than words.
The NCAA's official concussion policy con-
tains guidelines thateach of its memberschools
must follow. These policies mandate that insti-
tutions have a yearly concussion education ses-
sion for players, a process for taking players out
of games when they exhibit "signs, symptoms
or behaviors consistent with a concussion," a
policy that prohibits concussed athletes from
returning to athletic activity for the rest of the
day and a policy that requires medical clear-
ance for concussed athletes wishing to return
to athletic activity. These steps are important,
but there remains a lack of oversight and abil-
ity to enforce these guidelines. For an issue as
important as player safety, unenforced guide-
lines that are followed at the schools' discretion
lack the power and enforceability that would
come withclearlydefined rules and subsequent
consequei'es for failure te tomply. Other-'
wise, the policy not only poses a risk to players'
careers, but also to their lives.
The University and NCAA must also be
proactive in addressing the growing problem
of concussions. Recently, the lack of a proper
response to the issue led to a $70-million
settlement by the NCAA in a class action
lawsuit. Pursuing new helmet technology that
aids in concussion detection from helmet-
makers such as Riddelland Xenith should be
enthusiastically backed by the NCAA. With the
potential unreliability of on-field concussion
examinations, the NCAA should also support
new testing protocols such as a proposed
breathalyzer test that can detect concussions..
At his press conference after Saturday's loss
against Minnesota, Michigan football coach
Brady Hoke commented on Morris' injury,
later determined to be aconcussion, sayinghe's
a "tough kid" and "if he didn't want to (play) he
would've come to the sideline or stayed down."
However, athletes are immersed in a culture
of toughness and playing through injury, and
often come off the field only as a last resort.
Hoke's comments reinforce this drive to be
tough at the risk of personal safety. Because of
this mindset, important decisions that impact
player safety cannot be left up to players alone.
These decisions not only fall on the coaching
staff and medical teams on the sideline, but
also on the NCAA and its conferences to
make sure schools follow through on the
commitment to the health and well-being of
In order to help remove the human element
from determining whether a potentially con-
cussed player should be removed from a game,
the NCAA should expand the types of situa-
tions in which such a removal must take place.
Currently, a player must leave the field if his
helmet comes off during a play, but this rule
should be expandedto include players involved
in helmet-to-helmet contact penalties and
any other flagged penalties involving a hit to
the helmet, such as roughing the passer. This
would give the medical staff an opportunity for
a quick check for any signs of concussion-like
symptoms, which, if found, would then allow
them to conduct the full concussion assess-
ment. Since the hit on Morris was flagged,
this expansion of the rules would have forced
him to leave the field for a play. Michigan is
also instituting a plan starting with Saturday's
game vs. Rutgers to have a health professional
in the press box to look for potential player
injuries and have two-way radio communica-
tion between the sideline staff and the press
box. This setup, proven necessary by the Mor-
ris incident, should not just be a standard for
Michigan, but across college football.
While the situation with Morris was a huge
mistake, it also serves as a wakeup call for the
University and for other schools around the
country to prevent repeats of the situation and
continue to make player safety a priority. Better
concussion protocol is essential for players'
futures, both on the field and off.
EDITORIAL BOARD MEMBERS
David Harris, Rachel John, Nivedita Karki, Jacob Karafa,
Jordyn Kay, Aarica Marsh, Megan McDonald,
Victoria Noble, Melissa Scholke, Michael Schramm,
Matthew Seligman, Paul Sherman, Allison Raeck, Linh Vu,
Meher Walia, Mary Kate Winn, Daniel Wang, Derek Wolfe
CONTRIBUTE TO THE CONVERSATION
Readers are encouraged to submit letters to the editor and viewpoints.
Letters should be fewer than 300 words while viewpoints should be 550-850 words.
Send the writer's full name and University affiliation. to email@example.com.
The environmental poisoning of Iraq
When I arrived at Michigan in 2001, I
was interested in researching effects of
environmental pollutants to help protect this
planet from further degradation. By 2004,
wars and invasions had disfigured the face
of my home, the Middle East, so much that it
was no longer recognizable. By that time, the
United States and Israel were both beating
the drum to obliterate my country Iran.
This past summer we all witnessed what
public health looks like after a high-tech mili-
tary outlaw is let loose on a civilian popula-
tion. Israel killed over 2,100 Palestinians and
left more than 10,000 injured, many of whom
will die since the hospitals, clinics and reha-
bilitation centers have been heavily bombed.
Every one of these deaths is due to intense
U.S. military and political support for Israel.
Iraq and Afghanistan were put through the
same nightmare. They will be traumatized for
the next century by the experience.
As global health researchers, it is our
responsibility to think about how we may be
able to prevent such public health catastro-
phes from happening ever again. I have tried
to encourage the University to defend public
health in the Middle East in the past.
Following my interest in public health,
under virtually impossible circumstances, I
developed collaborations with Iraqi doctors
and published our findings with them.
Our Iraq research suggests severe public
contamination by metals heavily used in
weapons manufacturing including lead,
titanium(Savabieasfahani et al. 2014, inpress)
and magnesium. Simultaneously, many Iraqi
children are being born with birth defects
and neurodevelopmental disorders. Some
of these birth defects are so severe that they
have not been reported in any medical books.
Against this backdrop, my colleague, Dr.
Muhsin Al-Sabbak, is coming to the United
States to tour U.S. campuses with me. We will
be discussing our findings on the environmen-
tal poisoning of Iraq and the epidemic of birth
defects in Iraqi cities. He will arrive in Ann
Arbor this Oct. 6. Our tour begins in Michigan.
Our first appearance is at the University of
Michigan School of Natural Resources and
Environment. Those interested can come to
1040 Dana Building on Wednesday Oct. 8 at
5 p.m.. Our talks are entitled "The epidemic
of birth defects in Iraq and the duty of public
We have also been invited to speak at
Princeton, Columbia, Harvard and Boston
University, among others.
Indeed students at the University of
Michigan School of Public Health would
benefit from our presentations. I invite the
UMSPH to seize the opportunity of having an
Iraqi researcher on their campus and to allow
our research in Iraq to become widely known
to their student body. We all know that Iraq is
in shambles because of the outlaw behavior of
the U.S. government.
As public health researchers, we are
responsible to all people of the globe. A one-
hour presentation to UMSPH students would
be of immense value to their global health
Mozhgan Savabieasfahani is
an Ann Arbor resident.
R sumes, cover letters, job
applications, college essays,
ACT/SAT essays, reference
letters, semi-professional e-mails.
I've been tutoring_
high school and
for a few years
now, and starting
this past summer,
I've been help- [
ing my students
specifically with JENNY
their writing. To WANG
be clear, I am not,
by any stretch of
an expert on the craft of the perfect
cover letter or any of the above-
mentioned pieces of professional
writing. The only thing I really
have over my students is an ability
to string words into semi-coherent
sentences and possibly paragraphs.
Except this use of "only" is a
severe understatement to just how
important language is.
My mother was recently laid off,
and so this job application stuff has
become especially salient in my
family. My mother's grasp of the
English language is limited, which
also limits the kinds of jobs she can
apply for. Based on her work expe-
riences, she qualifies for plenty of
positions that don't require "strong
communication skills," but the bar-
rier is still there. I spent a good deal
of time removing the rookie spelling
mistakes, the grotesque capitaliza-
tion errors, the blatant ignorance of
proper formatting techniques until
all that was left on the page was what
I really believed my mother to be -
dedicated, hard-working, team-ori-
ented, with over a decade of relevant
work experience in a diverse set of
environments. In other words, when
the clunky language no longer drew
attention to itself, the skills that my
mother genuinely could offer to the
position finally came through.
In practicing for an interview:
"No, Mom, it's 'oriented.' Or-EE-en-
ted. Try saying it again."
I'm always anxious when my
mother goes out to her interviews.
Will her voice on the page or in
the e-mail match her speaking
voice? Will the interviewers look
past her accent? Will they even
To my student: "You see, in
from' and 'opposite' pretty much
meanthe samethinginthis context,
except we don't say 'opposite
from.' Yeah, I know. It's weird.
It's disheartening to hear that
some of my international students
spend the majority of their sum-
mer vacation studying for the ACT
English section, only to score sig-
nificantly lower than they hoped. At
this point, they probably have a bet-
ter grasp of sentence structures than
native English speakers do, but they
still don't know when to attach a
"from" to certain words, thus losing
that point that would've been a "no-
other dialects.) It's easy to dismiss
those struggling with the language
as lazy, incompetent or undeserving
of recognition and prestige.
Sometimes, I feel especially
removed from non-native speakers
because I'm an English major. I take
classes with students who speak
much more eloquently than I ever
will, and churn out polished, 12-page
analytical essays in a single night.
There are individuals who talk
about how they've been writing/
reading ever since they could walk,
and use this fact as proof of some
sort of natural talent, all the while
ignoring the inherent privilege that
comes with being born here and/
or being raised by parents who also
speak the (SAE) language fluently.
From astudent: "It'shardbecause
I came to America so late. The visa
took so long to approve."
But if not cover letters, resumes
and college essays, then what else
would employers and admissions
officers use as alternatives? So the
ACT and SAT basically function as
reading tests. Is
brainer" to fluent
speakers. I try my
best to explain
the concept to
them, their faces
scrunch at the
incredulity of a
trary rule, and
then they take
won't show up on the
From a professo
respond to your e-m:
proofread for errors.'
It's easy to ignore
some of which are
they don't mean mu
students. It's easy t
everyone is fluentc
"fluent," I mean flue
American English, I
know the stigma att
way to gauge
Sometimes, I feel high school
especially removed students'
from non-native a national
speakers because I'm are we going to
yet again point
an English major. to how certain
actual test. students, even though they are
r: "I will not arguably overworked and unpaid?
ails if you don't I don't know all the answers. All
" I know is that my students want
these barriers, to be engineers, scientists, artists
so minor that and all the things we would expect
ich to even my students to aspire toward. So let's
o assume that not think of whether or not we
or literate. (By should help, but how.
nt in Standard
because we all
ached to many
Jenny Wang can be reached