Posted by Adam Jacobi
The last time we heard from Arizona State quarterback Steven Threet, he was being removed from last season's UCLA game after a concussion. It was his second in five games, having suffered one earlier against California. While the first concussion evidently wasn't serious -- Threet returned to action the very next week against Washington State and had his best game of the season, going 26-32 for 300 yards and three TDs -- the cumulative effects of the two concussions appear to be much more severe.
The Arizona Republic reported today that Threet is still suffering post-concussion symptoms after that UCLA injury, and summarily has decided to leave the sport of football for good. Threet's symptoms include headaches and trouble sleeping; that the symptoms persist nearly three full months after the concussion means football must be off the table for Threet going forward.
"It's extremely hard," Threet told the Arizona Republic. "Obviously, this is a game I love. I love the guys that I've played with. Throughout my career I've had to make a lot of tough decisions, but this has been the toughest I've made so far."
Brock Osweiler, who stepped in for the injured Threet at the end of last season, is the prohibitive favorite to start for ASU in 2011; the only other QB with significant experience on the team was Samson Szakacsy, and he left the team as well last month (though under healthier circumstances).
But going back to Threet, it's obviously terrible to hear that his brain is still injured and we wish him all the best as he tries to recover. Leaving football, difficult as it may have been, was clearly the right decision. What's more, while we don't doubt that Arizona State doctors acted in good faith when they evaluated Threet after his first concussion, it is a fact that ASU is not beholden to Threet's long term well-being. This isn't the NFL, so Threet's not going to collect a pension to help with lingering medical issues (should they occur, and let's hope they don't) once he's gone from the school, or otherwise be helped out by the school. This isn't to suggest ASU is in any way liable for Threet's injuries, of course -- football is brutal and everybody knows that long before their first two-a-day ever begins -- but just a reminder of who's sacrificing for whom in the player-school relationship.