Pitino’s Lack Of Protection Extends To Players

Jason McIntyre of TheBigLead.com points us today to remarks made on Saturday by Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino about concussions suffered by Cardinal players.

Rick Pitino mocks team's concussions

Speaking to the media after his team beat Gardner-Webb 78-49 in Louisville, Pitino reported that freshman point guard Elisha Justice had suffered a concussion after taking an elbow to the face during the game. (He sat out the second half.) Sophomore forward Rakeem Buckles also missed the game with a concussion.

Those injuries prompted Pitino to make mocking comments about head injuries suffered by Louisville basketball players this season.

Of Justice’s concussion, Pitino said:

“It’s the 17th concussion we’ve had this year. I’ve been coaching now 35 years and I’ve seen maybe five concussions. Now the new thing (is), everybody has a concussion. If you walk out and slightly brush the door, you have a concussion.”

You can watch Pitino’s entire post game interview from the LOUISVILLE JOURNAL-COURIER here.

Not sure if there was something Pitino could say that could do more collateral damage to his program and his own reputation. In one sentence the coach:

1) Questioned the credibility of his medical and training staff
2) Questioned the toughness of his players
3) Implicated himself if the school ever faces legal action in connection to a head injury suffered by a player
4) Possibly damaged his relationship with recruits and their parents
5) Came off sounding inflexible and outmoded

What would happen if Univ. of Louisville football coach Charlie Strong had said the same thing?

It’s one thing for Pitino to not concern himself with his own personal protection, it’s another to disregard his responsibility to protect his players.

UPDATE: Will Graves of the ASSOCIATED PRESS has this from Pitino about concern over his remarks:

Pitino: “I do take injuries very seriously.” (Pitino) Said trainer Fred Hina is extremely cautious when bringing players back from concussion.

The latter isn’t in dispute.

Somewhat surprising that Pitino did not express regret for his earlier, mocking tone.

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