Ann Arbor — Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said he feels confident the Big Ten will enforce consistent health-care standards for its 14 football programs.
Harbaugh, speaking Monday night on the “Inside Michigan Football” radio show, was asked about changes in care provided at stadiums in light of The Detroit News article last week detailing the saga of quarterback Wilton Speight and his parents, Bobby and Martha.
After Speight suffered three fractured vertebrae late in the first quarter of the game at Purdue on Sept. 23, Bobby Speight described a “train wreck” in terms of care, beginning with having to leave Ross-Ade Stadium for an X-ray to help determine the severity of the injury. Michigan Stadium and Spartan Stadium, for instance, provide X-ray facilities on-site.
“It’s a serious thing,” Harbaugh said on the radio show. “I know the Big Ten is addressing it, will address it. I think everyone has admitted there needs to be a high standard of care for the student-athletes and their health and welfare is the most important thing, overarching over everything else. You hope to see changes that result from it.”
The Big Ten athletic directors met Oct. 11 and discussed the need for improving how injured athletes are treated and also improving visitor locker rooms.
Wilton Speight will have a bone-scan next Monday.
“We’ll see how it looks and hope for the best,” Harbaugh said.
Bobby Speight told The News he and his son are hopeful Speight can be ready to play the final two games of the season.
“It’s been healing since the hit, since the injury,” Harbaugh said. “He’s going through the steps and going through the training. Wore a brace for weeks just to make sure it was going to heal up right. Looks like that’s taking place. It’s healing in the right direction.”
Harbaugh said Speight was not sleeping well early on after suffering the injury.
“But wore the brace and was diligent with that,” Harbaugh said. “Did everything the doctors were telling him. We have the best doctors. I can’t say enough about our doctors. You sleep good at night knowing your guys are getting the best possible care out there.”
Receiver Kekoa Crawford suffered an injury in the Penn State game and wasn’t available to face Rutgers last Saturday. Harbaugh spoke about Crawford and several injured players, including receiver Tarik Black, who had surgery earlier this season for a broken foot.
“As you know, Tarik, healing bones and Kekoa is working through something as well,” Harbaugh said. “Few other guys, Grant Perry from the ball game, Mike Onwenu, Ty Isaac, we’ll see as the days go. They’re working through something right now. You wonder how guys respond to treatment. There’s training, preparation and practice. There’s training the training room and getting the treatment and you see how it responds. You don’t know for sure.”